No matter what city or country you visit around the world, there are always benefits to be had from being local. Whether it’s how you behave in a cultural sense, how you dress, what you know or how you interact with others, acting like a local can be extremely beneficial when you travel. Here are a few quick tips on how to act like a local next time you take yourself on a vacation.
Know where you’re going
Nothing screams tourist more than someone walking around following directions on their phone. Though these days walking with a phone in hand could be seen as common practice, however if you are driving in another city or country and you are not great at following directions, it could lead to trouble on the roads. Taking the time to review a map and understand general directions before setting off can be vital to getting where you need to go safely.
Speak some of the language
Though it’s not humanly possible to speak the language of every country you visit fluently it is well worth investing some time into learning a few basic phrases, especially if you are travelling to a country that does not speak your language as their mother tongue. Even a few short words will endear you to locals in many different countries and see you being invited to experience more than the average traveler. It might even allow you a few extra discounts that you weren’t expecting! Plus, knowing how to ask for the toilet in any country (let alone your favorite beverage) can be crucial to your daily experiences.
Traveling the world is something we do largely to experience other cultures apart from our own but respect for those cultures is also a big part of the experience and will be favorably received. If the country you are planning on visiting has a modest culture, it is always best to ensure that you are covered up enough to meet local standards. Also, straying away from typical ‘tourist clothing’ such as a fanny pack or a backpack can help you to blend in and may help with appearing more like a local.
Talk the talk
Though putting on an accent is not advised if you are trying to blend in, learning what is important to the locals and educating yourself about it goes a long way in making friends as you travel. If you’re visiting the states, get yourself up to speed on the NBA playoff odds or the most recent baseball stats to give yourself a topic of conversation if you plan on interacting with the locals. Talking the talk is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local culture.
When in Rome…
As the old adage goes, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Pay particular attention to hand gestures in the country you are in. Though a simple gesture where you’re from may seem innocent enough, it may cause great offence in the country that you are traveling to. The simple act of watching and imitating is great for behaving like a local when you travel and will see you with a wider acceptance from the people around you.
Whether it’s food or culture or language that you choose, the more that you can act like a local when you travel, the greater your experience is likely to be.