A quick visit to Venice won’t show you how Venetians live or a short term stay in Paris under the Eiffel Tower won’t let you understand the Parisian way of life. Eating a meal in your hotel in Portugal for a week won’t help you sample the true taste of Portuguese local cuisine. And while visiting the popular tourist attractions like the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty won’t let you experience the real New York City. For true travellers, exploring the popular attractions in the city is not the only thing they look forward to, they want to see even the hidden treasures and sometimes forgotten neighbourhoods to understand the area well.
Here are some tips how you can imbibe the country’s true culture wherever you visit.
Learn the language
The key to discovering and knowing a place’s real culture is to learn its local language. By earning the local language, you can converse with confidence for not only asking the directions but you can start a candid conversation and build up a sense of trust and friendship with the locals. If time is a constraint and you cannot speak fluently, it’s better to at least learn the basics like -how to say hello, thank you, yes, no, please and goodbye. Your quick learning abilities and the interest in the foreign language will be much appreciated by the locals.
Prefer a homestay, not a hotel
You can experience the true essence of a city by choosing to stay in the home of a local, which will help you learn a lot about their lifestyle. You’ll understand the way locals stay and interact with each other, for example- their daily chores, how and when they eat. Staying in a local house, you can also enjoy home cooked food and learn how these are cooked using fresh produce. Also, get to see the traditional decor and furniture of that country.
All these things will add much fun to your tour rather than staying in a regular hotel room. All hotel rooms to an extent look same. While staying with some locals, your host might even love to offer you language lessons or drive you to new unexplored places, which are only known to locals. Ratedapartments is a great way to stay with locals.
Explore away from the mainstream attractions
There is nothing wrong in exploring a country’s popular tourist destinations but it is important to also add lesser-known attractions in your travel itinerary, which will help you discover lesser appreciated things. For example- how frequent do to visit popular tourist sites in your hometown? Probably, very rare! Apply this same thing to the other countries you will be exploring. Step away from the popular sightseeing tours and put down your map if you don’t want to encounter locals and not the crowd of tourists. Try and get lost in a different area, discovering something new. Rather than visiting a popular pub or a cafe, visit lesser known places that still maintain its authenticity and is popular amongst locals.
Find a local guide
Using the help of a local guide will give you get first hand information that too with a bit of different reference than the media’s spin on the situation. While you can always explore a new place yourself but with the help of local guide who completely knows the area from inside out will help you find those special out of the way places.