6 Ways To Avoid Tourist Traps And Travel Like Local
Undoubtedly, there are some tourist attractions you just can’t miss when planning your trip. You can’t go to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower or Iceland without driving the Golden Circle. Your travel time is very valuable and you’ve got to be wise in order to avoid fighting off crowds or spending all your money. It’s just not worth it!
The best way to fully experience a place is to travel like a local. This way you can really get to know the destination and its’ culture. Avoid getting stuck in tourist traps, travel like a local, find the hidden gems!
1. Avoid Peak Seasons
This is first and one of the most important. High season is not only the most expensive and busiest time to travel, it’s the most hectic.
It’s not pleasant being constantly surrounded by tourists. And it’s definitely impossible to slow down, take a moment and appreciate the surroundings. Therefore it’s recommended to travel in low- or shoulder-season.
Research when is the busiest time in the place/country you wish to go – and don’t go during those times. If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you will get more space and authenticity in low-season. Skyscanner can also give you a good idea of when to go by selecting ‘cheapest month’. Traveling during the low-season you will save more not only on activities, flights and accommodation too!
2. Be Smart About the Hour
Similarly, as above – find out when the best time to visit the attraction is – and book outside of those hours. Of course, there is a reason why it’s the best time to visit (it’s warmer/cooler or you can see a beautiful sunrise/sunset), but if you’re there to actually see the sight and experience the moment, you might prefer fewer crowds and greater memories over one fantastic Instagram picture. Am I right?
3. Learn the language essentials
If the language of the place you’re about to visit isn’t a language you can speak, do yourself a favor and take some time learning some of the must-know words in the native tongue. No one is expecting you to memorize the national anthem of each country you visit (though that might be super cool!) but being able to say ‘thank you’, ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’ (and ‘another glass of red wine, please’ perhaps?) in the local language is certainly a good etiquette and people might open up to you more. A horrible pronunciation might as well break the ice or get a laugh!
4. Take public transportation
For some, it might seem frightening, but hopping on local transport whether that’s a subway, bus or boat, can be a complete game-changer in terms of your experience – and your finances. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet locals and have some insights of the culture. Your trip with public transportation can end with a local giving you tips about the best bars and restaurants or a warm invitation to an event!
5. Eat Local
We all know that the restaurant that desperately wants business will literally beg in the street for people to come in. Here you should ignore the guidebooks and the heckling waiters in the street and look for places full of locals, maybe even a place where the menu is in a language you don’t understand at all. It’s always worth asking some locals or simple researching in advance, for example, the local dish of the country and learning the word so you’ve got something to refer to.
6. Have A Coffee
Have a moment to take yourself on a wander. Find a cute coffee shop to relax in for a couple of hours, interact with locals or just watch the world go by. This can be a very cozy way to familiarise yourself with the culture and blend in for a while. You’ve got some time to check your map or use wifi in a calm area. Also, if you’re sitting alone in a coffee shop conversations usually occur quite naturally, so you might even get yourself a new friend with absolutely no specific intention or effort.