Ten ways to travel like a local in a city filled with tourists
In the past 20 years, we have all witnessed how travel has changed. With the necessary information and bookings available straight on the palm of our hands, everything has become just so much more convenient and safe. Thanks to bloggers, search engines and social media, we watch an illusion or a dream right on our screens.
What has also changed is travel itself. From ‘Just touristy things’ it has evolved to ‘just traveller things’. Suitcases are now replaced by backpacks, new clothes have now been changed to comfort clothing. Yet in this phase of travel evolution, being a traveller and not a tourist becomes a little difficult due to the commercialisation.
Here are 10 ways to travel like a local or a traveller in a city filled with tourists as they say a traveller sees what he or she sees where as a tourist sees what he or she has come to see.
- Learn before you land
It’s true even as a tourist you will learn or read a little about the place before going. But as a traveller try and learn the culture of that place. Blessed with a country with numerous customs and traditions, it gets easier as a traveller to feel like a local. Try and learn to at least to say ‘Sorry’ and Thank you’ in the local language.
- Do not go for hotels
Do not spend thousands of rupees on hotels, instead go for an economically friendly option like guest houses or hostels. For the best experience of a traveller you can also try and live with a local. You will find a lot of these on various apps where you can live with the locals in a place filled with tourists.
- Stay for longer
You may never get the opportunity to visit this place ever again, so make the most out of this. Try and follow an offbeat path and lesser known parts of that area. Get to know locals and look at your travel through their lens. You don’t always have to take a map in your hand, just feel right wandering in the wrong direction.
- Be curious, talk to locals
Be ready to learn. Have an open and a clear mind. Do not stick to stereotypes, instead be open to change. Ask questions and make the locals feel you are a part of them.
- Use local transport
Taking a bus or a train is not only budget friendly but also lets you make many new friends. Utilising public transport increases interaction between you, locals and other travellers like you along with increasing exposure.
- Enrol in a class
There are a lot of free classes available all over the country. Try a free trial of yoga in Rishikesh or enrol in learning the local language. You can also learn from a local about his or her language in exchange for teaching them your language.
- Go for free concerts or festivals
Attend a free concert or festivals. This is the place where you’ll meet the most locals and get to know the real side of the culture. Infused in a place filled with tourists running behind fancier or more popular events, you could enjoy the local free events. The Ziro festival of music at Arunanchal Pradesh is one such event that happens at one of the country’s most picturesque landscapes.
- Stay in a place with a kitchen
As most of your money is often wasted on food or drinks, look for a place with a kitchen or stay with a local. Here you can not only get to taste the cuisine of that place but you can learn to make it.
- Visit the less travelled pathways
And of course what makes you different from a tourist is the unknown path travelled in your expedition. Do not be scared if it is less popular, just move along the road and find your wanderlust and maybe your sacred place.
- Enjoy the journey
And finally what makes you a traveller is when you have justified your journey with yourself. This is best understood when you have become a part of the place you have stayed in and you have imbibed its culture.
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Text By: Ravina Banze