How To Stop Being A Tourist When You Go On Holiday

How do you spot a tourist?

We can spot a tourist from 200 yards. When we go on holiday as nice as it is to get the camera out and to explore these new locations we need to dial down the tourist quotient. Being a tourist on holiday doesn’t necessarily mean you will get the greatest experience, or even the most realistic. If you want to be a tourist you could very easily go to Disneyland and get pampered but if you want an alternative trip that gives you an insight into how people really live then you’ve got to stop being a tourist. But how can we do this?

Getting A Taste For The Local Cuisine

It’s one of the best ways to get into the underbelly of a culture. The local cuisine can tell you so much about the people and if you can find a place where locals inhabit, not only are you able to get great food but you’re able to get something a little bit more than just a sanitized tourist trap restaurant. Because if you’re looking for must-try food in Sri Lanka or any country in Asia, street food is your ideal option. One of the great things about street food is that it’s easily accessible, there’s an abundance of choice, and it’s amazingly cheap!


Don’t Hit The Hotels

When we go to a posh hotel where we can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner we can almost force ourselves to stay within the confines of the tourist ideals. Part of being on vacation is about going off the beaten track. And when you shun the idea of a hotel but instead go to a hostel you will meet fellow travellers who are looking for ways to get on like a local. When you go to a hostel you will get more information on the local customs and the great places to go that locals recommend. When you go to a hotel as nice, as it is to have a comfy bed and a shower, if you really want to experience somewhere without any of those tourist trappings you’ve got to slum it! Or if you are looking for something in between a hotel and a hostel you can always get a self-catering apartment. If you are looking to save money this bridges the gap but it also gives you the opportunity to cook meals at home giving you the chance to try your hand at local dishes. And if you’re feeling particularly brave there are options for you to go couchsurfing so you can spend time with actual locals! 

Research As Much As You Can

It may sound obvious but if you think that tipping is customary in Barcelona when in fact it’s not, you can very easily show yourself up as a tourist. Trying to infiltrate any foreign destination is about getting under the skin of the place. This means that you need a real understanding of customs and manners. And while nobody expects you to learn a foreign language in a matter of weeks if you can get off-book with a few choice phrases this will go a long way. There are plenty of apps that can help you to learn a decent foundation of a language. It is ambitious to think that you can become fluent in something in a matter of months, especially with all of the colloquialisms but if you put in a decent effort in the six months leading up to your journey you may not get away like a local but people will appreciate you far more for it! Being able to order items in the restaurant could help you to come across as someone who’s been living there for a while.

Public Transport

It’s the one true way to get around like any local. But luckily now there are plenty of apps like Citymapper that operate in various cities around the world. If you’re going to a place like Sao Paulo so you can at least look like you know what you’re doing. If you’re feeling particularly brave you could always hire a vehicle and traverse the back streets. It will give you a unique take on events but make sure that you are well versed in the rules of the road. In places like Milan, so many people ignore the rules of the road entirely! Make sure that you know what you’re in for.

Being a tourist is all well and good but if you want to get an understanding of a place you’ve got to get rid of the camera from around your neck and be natural.


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