How to Skip the Tourist Traps and Travel Like a Local

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Travel is about so much more than lounging by the pool or queueing up to snap a selfie at a famous monument. Travel is an enriching experience that should broaden our horizons by allowing us to soak up local cultures and see how different people and communities live.

That’s why an increasing number of travellers are putting a focus on how to experience a place just like a local, eschewing the tourist traps in favour of finding hidden experiences that truly capture the essence of a destination. If you wish to make your future travel more meaningful, then follow these essential tips for travelling like a local.

Go Where the Tourists Aren’t

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Your first step should be to do your research to find out the vibrant areas of your destination of choice that are far from the beaten path. If you’re heading to Paris, you may be tempted to follow the crowd and book yourself into a hotel on the Champs-Elysees. However, this is no way to experience Paris as the locals do, and you won’t find anything beyond chain restaurants and tourist traps. Opt for a vibrant, non-touristy neighbourhood such as the Canal Saint-Martin, Bastille, or Oberkampf, where you’ll find local businesses, vibrant communities, and a distinct lack of tourists.

Skip the Hotels and Choose a Local Apartment

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No matter where you decide to travel to, you are unlikely to experience much of the local flavour if you opt to stay in a Holiday Inn. One of the best ways to live locally is to choose a short or long-term apartment rental that allows you to live side-by-side with the locals. Take the glitzy, cosmopolitan metropolis of Dubai, for instance. Rather than staying in the tourist-dominated resorts, you could use a service like Bayut to secure a charming, authentic Dubai studio apartment in a vibrant local neighbourhood such as Jumeirah Village. This way, you’ll see the best of Dubai that all too many tourists miss out on.

Embrace the Local Lifestyle

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You can’t really say that you have experienced a destination if you don’t throw yourself head-first into the local lifestyle, so do your research to see what the quintessentially local experiences are. For example, if you find yourself in Finland, that means swallowing your nerves and heading to a local sauna, before cooling off in a frozen lake afterwards. If you’re in Tokyo, then it might mean a raucous night out in the tiny tachinomiya (standing-up bars) that are snuggled underneath the bridges and train tracks of residential areas. If you want to make the most of your precious vacation time, then finding the local activities is the best way to do it.

Enlist a Local to Be Your Guide

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Finally, one of the best ways to see a destination through the eyes of a local resident is to hire one to be your tour guide. There are tons of websites that allow you to enlist the help of a local to show you all of the hidden gems in their stomping ground. One of the largest is Rent-a-Guide, which has a vast network of eager tour guides based in destinations such as New York, London, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Mexico City, to name just a few. With a local guide, you can rest easy knowing that you won’t be ripped off at any of the tourist traps and will be able to truly absorb the best of the world’s most iconic destinations.

With these simple tips, you will be able to make the most of every second of your next trip.

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