So this topic has been one I personally have been wrestling with on my last few trips. I’ve come to the point that if I have the choice, I would prefer to see new places through the eyes of the locals as opposed to only doing the expected “touristy” things. Here’s Why:
1. You learn things the average person wouldn’t: when you explore areas and actually engage with the locals in certain cities/countries you are able to learn facts that the average person wouldn’t otherwise come across when simply going the tourist route. I’m all about being cultured and well to truly be cultured you need to actually take part in a culture.
2. It will save you money: most tourist areas in cities are super commercialized which means everything in that area will be more expensive. It goes back to the old theory of supply and demand. If they know more people come to that area they can charge more. However if you travel off the beaten path, you’ll likely come across deals and pricing that the actual residents get. This is always a win in my book.
3. You gain a deeper appreciation for your life: sometimes seeing things through the eyes of a local can be eye opening. You may see things outside of your norm but in the end it will give you a deeper appreciation for the life you are able to live back home. Most tourist areas are fixed up to appeal to things we are used to/expect to see. So sometimes you have to get uncomfortable to be humbled.
4. You make new friends who are different from you: once you are off the beaten path you typically have no choice but to engage with locals. I’m not talking about the locals who generally engage with locals as a part of their job, but actual homegrown locals who stay away from tourist areas. Sure there may be a language barrier at times, but that’s the fun part. Most locals will welcome you into their homes as if you were apart of their own family. (And well those home cooked meals are so worth it) Now you have a new friend/family should you ever come back.
5. You get to taste the best foods and drinks: now don’t get me wrong the food in tourist areas is great, but it’s something about authentic food that you’ll likely never come across where you live.
So these are just my reasons for wanting to see places as a local. Am I totally against the tourist route? No! But I will find time to experience more of the local side of things.
We all travel to certain destinations based on the tourist things we see or hear about from others…but once you get there what you choose to see is up to you! Make the most of every trip you take no matter what. Always remember to be safe though no matter where you go. If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t go there!
Happy holidays and happy traveling. ✈️