Traveling to a new country gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture and lifestyle. While you can get a taste of the life in your new temporary home, the best way to truly see how people live is to connect with locals. Here’s how:
1. Make Friends with Everyone You Meet
Make friends with everyone you meet and do your best to nourish as many of those connections as possible during your stay. Befriend the bartender or waiter at a restaurant, and return there each day for a drink or meal.
Each time you return to these places, it will feel like you’re having a drink or meal with an old friend. These new friends can teach you a great deal about the local culture and lifestyle. Some may even volunteer to take you out on the town.
2. Link with Locals
You can connect with locals who know the city best, like:
- Party with a local: Connect with locals who like to party – or just meet for a drink.
- Experience with locals: Access to experiences offered by locals, like picking tea on a Sri Lankan plantation. You can also learn a new skill, like chess or street art from locals who are happy to share their time and expertise.
- Eat with a local: Eat a meal with a local family.
If you’re having trouble networking and making friends in person, apps can help bridge the gap and connect you with locals who share the same interests. Who knows – you just might make a life-long friend.
3. Eat at Local Hotspots
Some restaurants serve food, and then some restaurants serve real food. This is where the locals go.
One of the best ways to learn about a country is through their food. Yet so many travelers wind up eating at the hotel or restaurants that cater to tourists.
Always eat at restaurants that cater to locals, even if it looks like a hole-in-the-wall place.
4. Stay with a Family
Want a true taste of the local culture and lifestyle? Make arrangements to stay with a local family. Even if it’s just for a few days, you’ll have the opportunity to see how people live and eat in the country.
You may even get a few home-cooked, authentic meals out of the deal.
Staying with a local family can be a rewarding experience and gives you the chance to forge a life-long friendship.
5. Learn the Language
If you’re traveling to a country where the locals speak a different language, make an effort to learn the basics. You may not be able to carry out a deep conversation, but you can at least make your way around town and make small talk. The locals will appreciate your effort to learn their language and speak to them in their native tongue.