Travelling Tips from the Locals: How to Enhance your Travels with Advice from the LocalsAugust 2, 2011
Your friend stuck back home: "So, what's the best part of your trip?"
You, newly-subscribed travel junkie: "We met these amazing local people and they: showed us the proper way to cook sticky rice!/ welcomed us into their home/ chatted with us about their dreams/ introduced us to their family/ shared their lunch with us."
The locals have the inside knowledge. They know the best food stalls to grab a great, yet cheap, bowl of steaming noodle soup, and best of all many people around the world want to make new friends with you: the weird-looking traveller. A place is made by the people in it. But this can all seem a little daunting at first. Is it possible to make any friends in a city full of touts longing for your dosh?! Here are some suggestions for where you will often find a friendly face ready to share their story of the real country you're trekking through:
- Forget air-conditioning and comfy seats; if you want to meet the locals you need to be where the locals are! Travel on the local buses, not the tourist versions. So maybe they break down a couple of times, or a bit of black gunge leaks through the roof, or you start to worry about catching bird flu from the chicken squawking behind you…but it will all be worth it when the lady beside you gives you a grin and talks you through the local landscape.
- Eat where the locals eat. That street stall surrounded by noisy families is most likely to be more hygienic than the sedate restaurant in your hotel anyway! Open your taste buds to the real deal.
- Learn some of the local language-local people appreciate it when you make an effort. It's also important to be aware of local customs, such as appropriate dress and gestures.
- Ask for people's local advice and knowledge – many will be willing to point you in the direction of what you're looking for.
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