5 Ways to Experience the Local Culture When You Travel04/02/2020
When you spend time flying to a new destination, you really want to get to experience the place. In some touristy areas, this can be difficult, as things may be set up to make visitors feel at home, but might not give you a taste of authentic, local culture. Here’s how to get to know a country when you land, even if you’re only staying for a short visit.
1. Live Like a local
Sometimes, hotels or hostels can be nice for a break, but generally you won’t get an authentic experience if you’re staying with other tourists. It’s much better to rent somewhere self-catering, so you can shop and live like someone local. For example, if you look for villas in the Balearic Islands, these are great places to use as a base, and it’s easier to find the different islands’ unspoilt beaches and historic sites
2. Rent a Car
If you want to spend time away from the crowds, then renting a car is usually the best way to do so. It means you aren’t stuck going on organised tours or taking buses from the resorts to popular beaches. Renting a car gives you a lot more freedom, so even if you aren’t going anywhere specific, you can just explore and stop where the mood takes you. These are the sort of experiences you remember when it’s time to come home.
3. Go to Local Markets and Festivals
Festivals are a big part of some cultures, so if you go along to these big events, you can really mingle with the locals. Spain is particularly well known for its festivals, many of which are religious in nature, and they often involve huge fiestas that take up entire towns. You’ll usually get to see dancing, live music and parades, so they’re the kind of events where you’ll take plenty of photos. Local markets are also a great place to soak up the culture. You can haggle with stallholders for ingredients for dinner, try street food, and get some handmade items as souvenirs.
4. Learn a Bit of the Language
Many people worry about going off the beaten track, as they may not be able to communicate in the local language. However, it doesn’t take much effort to learn some of the basics, and apps like Duolingo are good for learning useful phrases. Most locals are glad you’ve made the effort, so don’t feel embarrassed if your skills aren’t exam-worthy, and if you get stuck, there are also translation apps to make communication easy.
5. Get Out of the Main Cities
Cities are great for short breaks and to see sights like the major museums and art galleries, but cities tend to be multi-cultural, so what you’re seeing isn’t necessarily representative of how the rest of the country live. Spend less time in the big cities and more time travelling through villages and towns. Not only will you encounter fewer tourists, you’ll meet lots of locals and can see how people really live.