Experience A New Culture Like A Local
With the abundance of attractions seemingly geared just towards tourists and their wallets, it can feel like it is impossible for travelers to find genuine experiences. Here are some tips for experiencing a new place’s culture like a local.
The most important step towards getting to know a culture is to do some research before going to develop a basic understanding of the culture. Before arriving, travelers should be familiar with the local cuisine, history, language and traditions. This knowledge helps visitors better appreciate what they see while traveling and avoid tourist traps.
Another strategy for experiencing authentic culture is to go where the locals go. For example, visitors seeking quality restaurants should avoid places brimming with tourists in favor of restaurants where most of the patrons and employees are speaking the local language. Special events and festivals are good yet often overlooked opportunities to witness authentic culture, as they are planned by and for the people who live in the area, not tourists.
Perhaps the best way to experience culture like a local is to be shown about by one. Travelers who arrive with connections to locals or stay long enough to make friends have an advantage, but often times guides may be hired to give visitors an inside look.
These techniques will help travelers gain an understanding of what a place is really like, not just the face it shows to tourists.