Home Travel The new breed of travellers: living like the locals

The new breed of travellers: living like the locals

by LaurettaCWright
Local living

The trend of living and travelling like a local isn’t new, but it is a trend that is rapidly growing worldwide with the availability of services like Airbnb and Uber that are hosted and driven by locals.

But what are the advantages of experiencing local life? And should we all try to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to getting to know local traditions, cultures and practices? 

Evan Hung, co-founder and CEO of Zipskee, (a social-discovery platform that connects travellers and locals around the world) thinks so: “Travelling abroad is a great way to indulge in culinary fare, popular attractions, and spontaneous adventures — but your international trip can be even better by learning about the diversity and beauty of other cultures.

“People are the heart of culture, so immerse yourself with the locals to learn as much as you can. By rubbing shoulders with new communities, you’ll experience new perspectives and discover that people around the world are incredibly welcoming.”

According to a survey by Topdeck Travel of 31,000 18-30 year olds from 134 different countries, millennials want to fully immerse themselves into new cultures and feast on local cuisine — experiencing a new culture was actually listed as a key motivation to travel by 86% of those surveyed!

Hung says that while sightseeing and taking guided tours might satisfy some, getting to know the heart and soul of a destination through a local is a genuine cultural experience.  

He says: “Immersing oneself in culture by living as they live, eating as they eat, and playing as they play, is a unique travel experience that teaches more about the world around you. You may find that making lifelong friends across the globe will be the most rewarding part of your trip.

“Rather than being the typical tourist, connect with locals and discover how your journey can be even better. Here are some of the ways my best travel stories have began… 

  • Meeting a local university student to learn about the city’s architecture and museums.
  • Renting a moped, getting lost, and exploring charming neighbourhoods.
  • Meeting a local foodie who guided me to an unforgettable hole-in-the-wall eatery
  • Discussing a city’s history and learning its secrets from a new friend whose family has lived there for generations.
  • Being taken along on an unexpected road trip and meeting a whole new group of friends in a brand new city.

“As you think about your future travel plans, keep some room in your schedule to make friends and find deeper cultural connections.

“Don’t be afraid to interact with locals who know your destination best — whether it’s through a bartender at a pub, a friend met online, or a friendly street vendor. Chances are, you will learn many things from each other while building memorable friendships!

“One day, you’ll show them the same kindness by helping them explore your city. Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to experience whatever your journey brings — avoid over planning and following strict schedules.

“Unexpected experiences often make for some of the best memories. And finally, remember…when in Rome…do as the Romans do!”

48 comments

Dannii 13th November 2017 - 7:57 am

I think thats the only way to travel and what most people do. You need to immerse yourself in to local culture to really experience a place.

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LaurettaCWright 14th November 2017 - 5:44 pm

I think more and more people are slowly realising this now Dannii which is great.

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Elizabeth 12th November 2017 - 8:48 pm

I think that’s the only way to travel, really. Why would you go to a place if you didn’t want to experience the local culture, properly? 🙂

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LaurettaCWright 12th November 2017 - 10:15 pm

You’re right Elizabeth, but you’d be surprised that a lot of people don’t…

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Katrina 9th November 2017 - 8:13 pm

I think living local is a great way to
Get to know a place and it’s culture

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LaurettaCWright 9th November 2017 - 8:43 pm

Thanks Katrina!

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Emily Underworld 9th November 2017 - 3:02 pm

Living like a local is key to travel in my opinion! Especially when it comes to trying different cuisines… now I want to go back to Greece!

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LaurettaCWright 9th November 2017 - 3:54 pm

Ooh yes – and I’m hankering for another trip to Turkey now you’ve started to talk gastronomy!

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Baby Isabella 9th November 2017 - 12:54 pm

We’d rather tap into local culture by talking to them and going on independent tours with local guides. You learn so much more than travel agent bookings x

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LaurettaCWright 9th November 2017 - 10:04 pm

Travel agents can also arrange tours – and in some cases it’s actually cheaper to book before you go (although I’d also agree that sometimes you don’t always know what you want to do until you are there)

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Sarah Ann 8th November 2017 - 11:26 pm

I love living like a local when I travel and always find the locals respond really well to this too. They’ve always been so helpful and felt I was really appreciating their country.

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LaurettaCWright 9th November 2017 - 8:37 am

Yes the locals are absolutely appreciative of the tourism you bring to their country – especially when most depend on it for their livelihood.

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Olivia Thristan 8th November 2017 - 9:48 pm

I love the idea of living local, I am the kinda person who opts for what they’re used. But learning from someone who knows what’s good sounds brill! xx

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LaurettaCWright 9th November 2017 - 8:36 am

thanks Olivia!

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Ting 8th November 2017 - 1:22 pm

Living like a local when travelling is the most fun way to get to the authentic language and most importantly, food! Tx

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LaurettaCWright 8th November 2017 - 5:39 pm

Ha ha! Definitely Ting 🙂

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Bethany 8th November 2017 - 1:05 pm

Every time I travel I definitely try to ‘live like a local’. I absolutely love meeting people who can tell me about local food, traditions and the best places to go!

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LaurettaCWright 8th November 2017 - 5:39 pm

Sounds like you’re already getting the most out of the destination!

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Linda Hobbis 8th November 2017 - 8:01 am

Living like a local is definitely the best way to learn a foreign language because languages are rarely spoken like they’re written. That’s even true of Welsh!

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LaurettaCWright 8th November 2017 - 12:03 pm

I think I need to get my kids to Germany and France pronto – to improve their languages so they impress their teachers!

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Mel 7th November 2017 - 7:01 pm

I like to try and travel like a local if I can – certainly feels like you get a more authentic feel of place
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LaurettaCWright 8th November 2017 - 8:01 am

The increase in experiential trips has definitely helped I think. More people are willing to explore ‘off the beaten track’

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Emily Leary 7th November 2017 - 6:09 pm

I think it definitely gives you a different perspective on where you’re staying. I really like what Even said about making sure to ‘keep some room in your schedule to make friends and find deeper cultural connections’ 🙂

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LaurettaCWright 8th November 2017 - 8:02 am

Thanks Emily. I too believe that you can make great friendships if you make the effort to get involved and be interested.

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jade bremner 7th November 2017 - 3:47 pm

I love the idea of living like locals I think it would be a nicer way to experience a country. I can’t say we get to travel much but this is definitely how I would like to travel just maybe not use airbnb as I have anxiety about that x

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LaurettaCWright 8th November 2017 - 8:03 am

I can’t comment on airbnb as I haven’t yet used it, but even if you stay in a hotel you can still get in tune with locals just by striking up conversation when you are out and about.

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kirsty 7th November 2017 - 3:22 pm

I think you get a more authentic feel of a place if you live like a local rather than a tourist! You can discover some great little places when you take a step away from the tourist side!

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LaurettaCWright 11th November 2017 - 1:26 pm

I do too Kirsty. I love meeting new people anyway!

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Angela Ricardo Bethea 7th November 2017 - 1:31 pm

I totally love the idea and agree with “Immersing oneself in culture by living as they live, eating as they eat, and playing as they play.”. It’s great to try to be friends with the locals and asking for great places to visit or restaurants.

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LaurettaCWright 11th November 2017 - 1:23 pm

Absolutely! They know all the best places after all!

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Shahneela 7th November 2017 - 10:49 am

Such a nice read. I always prefer going to local places when I am away as I find best of everything be it food, places or shopping.

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LaurettaCWright 14th November 2017 - 5:18 pm

Thanks Shahneela – yes I agree. In fact, I think the longer you’re on holiday in a destination, the most local haunts you’re likely to find.

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Patrick 7th November 2017 - 1:13 am

Sounds good on paper but there only a few countries that I could feel comfortable enough to go exploring with.
Other countries I would be wary of and would rather have a vetted guide who speaks the native language.

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LaurettaCWright 11th November 2017 - 1:25 pm

Or learn a few words yourself Patrick to get to know the lingo – always impresses people!

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Ana De- Jesus 7th November 2017 - 12:37 am

I love the idea of avoiding over planning and strict schedules because I believe that living like locals when travelling means that you should embrace their way of life! Great post x

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LaurettaCWright 11th November 2017 - 1:24 pm

Thanks Ana – looks like most of us are in agreement!

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Joanna Bayford 7th November 2017 - 12:13 am

I think its a great idea of learning more about where u are visiting and the locals would be able to help you find the best places to eat and visit.

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LaurettaCWright 11th November 2017 - 1:25 pm

Yes – that’s the general idea too – they always know the best places to hang out!

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melissa major 6th November 2017 - 11:18 pm

Its been ages since our last holiday but when we do I will keep this in mind for sure as its a great way to meet people and know the destination better.

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LaurettaCWright 11th November 2017 - 1:24 pm

That’s very kind – thanks Melissa!

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Sarah Bailey 6th November 2017 - 10:03 pm

I’ve never tried travelling like a local but it is something I would very much love to do as it seems like the best way to experience a place.
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LaurettaCWright 9th November 2017 - 10:46 pm

Great that you’re opening to trying Sarah!

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Lilinha 6th November 2017 - 9:49 pm

Whenever we visit a new country, we try to get in touch with locals and ask for tips about places to visit and restaurant to try!
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LaurettaCWright 6th November 2017 - 10:06 pm

Super tip – he locals will always know best! Bit like when you walk into a Toby Carvery – you know you are getting a good deal when you see lots of elderly people in there – they’ve done their research and know where to go!

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Mayah Camara 6th November 2017 - 6:45 pm

Great post. I always go to the places the locals eat when i’m away because you always find the best food that way.

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LaurettaCWright 6th November 2017 - 9:47 pm

Great tip – and absolutely!

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Rachel Evans 6th November 2017 - 3:56 pm

Ooooh. I would love to meet a local foodie and go somewhere with really authentic food. I always try and avoid chain restaurants when I’m abroad – unless it’s like their cult chain that I have to visit to get an authentic experience of the place.

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LaurettaCWright 6th November 2017 - 4:10 pm

Thanks Rachel – looks like you are going about it the right way then. It’s nice to get a real ‘flavour’ of the destination by opting for independent eateries.

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