Slow travel is a mindset and approach to traveling that emphasizes immersing oneself in the local culture and experiencing a destination at a leisurely pace. Instead of rushing through popular tourist attractions, slow travel encourages you to connect with locals, learn about their way of life, and appreciate the destination on a deeper level.
In our blog post below we chat about the top ways to live like a local when you are traveling abroad.
1. Public Transportation
One of the best ways to live like a local is to use public transportation. Traveling on local buses, trolleys, or trains is the perfect way to get an insight into how things work in that area.
Riding on public forms of transportation can truly feel like an adventure all on its own. Buses will often times take you to areas away from the tourist areas. This will give you access to visit places that the locals go to more often.
2. Eat Like a Local
Instead of eating in the big chain restaurants that you are already familiar with, eat at the Mom and Pops spots where the locals are eating. When a food place has plenty of locals eating inside this is a good sign that the restaurant or café is good and has a good reputation.
Not only do you want to try local restaurants, also eat the local cuisine and dishes to get a feel for what people eat in that area. You can register on a helpful site like Akewe to learn some top recommendations if you are venturing on international travel to Africa.
For those that are staying in an accommodation that offers your own kitchen and allows you to cook, then shop at the local markets. Do not be afraid to try veggies or fruits that you have never seen.
3. Learn the Language
It might not be possible to become completely fluent with the local lingo, but try to learn basic phrases that will help you while you are out exploring. This will make it possible to engage with locals and strike up conversations wherever you are.
There are free language learning apps that you can use to learn before you go to your travel destination like Duolingo. Learning some basics will also help you haggle at markets and save you some money.
4. Local Events
Take the time to do an online search for local events and activities. This can be anything from festivals to concerts to cultural events. During these events you can meet local residents that can point out other events that they highly recommend.
You can also go to a local movie even if it’s in another language or visit the local library. Local museums are another great way to spend hours immersing yourself into the local culture.
5. Stay Local
Look for accommodations such as apartments instead of hotels. This will not only save you money, but it will make you feel like a local. We recommend looking for a place closer to the city to make it easier to walk to food stores, cafés, shops, banks, etc.
There are also bed and breakfast locations you can look for, local guesthouses, or rentals through platforms like Airbnb. If you choose an Airbnb or a local guesthouse it will give you the opportunity to interact with the hosts and have even more local recommendations.
Keep in mind that tourists usually stay in hotels, but authentic travelers stay in rentals that allow them to feel like a local.
6. Repeat Customer
If you are staying for a while it is nice to become a regular at your favorite bar, restaurant or local shop. When you become a regular customer somewhere you like, it will give you a sense of routine, and it will come with its perks.
You are going to hear about all the local events, and you will also learn more about everything on the menu. Workers might even learn your name and make you feel like an honorary local.
7. Spend Time in a Park
Whether you find the nearest park or green space visit it often. You can either jog and enjoy some exercise and fresh air or just sit down and do some people watching. More than likely a local will not travel 45 minutes to a park, so it is best to find the closest park to where you are staying.
While you are visiting pay attention to the signs that are posted around the park spaces. Sometimes there are local group workout classes or open-air concerts advertised in these local parks. You never know when you will stumble upon a free outdoor screening or a free jazz festival.
It is a good idea to pack a picnic once in a while and just sit at the park to eat and enjoy the great outdoors. You will often see locals chatting with friends or exercising.
Ready to Slow Travel Like a Pro?
Now that you learned our top tips to live like a local while you are experiencing some slow travel, you can take action. You can collect plenty of experiences that you will never forget. Doing as much research as possible before you hop on your flight is one of the best ways to get organized before your trip and truly enjoy the local experience.
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