How to vacation like a local –– anywhere!

The joy of travelling is the ability to experience new cultures, landscapes, and flavours, not to sit in your hotel room above it all! It can feel overwhelming to experience a new place without making concrete plans or buying tickets to a show or tourist attraction, but there is much more to do in a new place. There is a profound intimacy in travelling like a local, and in this blog, we give you our best suggestions for making your next trip an experience.

“I’m a big believer in winging it. I’m a big believer that you’re never going to find perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal without a constant willingness to experience a bad one. Letting the happy accident happen is what a lot of vacation itineraries miss, I think, and I’m always trying to push people to allow those things to happen rather than stick to some rigid itinerary.” –Anthony Bourdain

Get out and experience your destination like a local.

Eat the local food

Food is one of the best ways to learn and grow while travelling. Being open and curious about new flavours and dishes is a way to self-reflect and connect to the people around you. Food customs are a key totem in building cultures. Leave the hotel and find some street food, go for a long walk and stop at some of the cafes and small restaurants you see, analyze what attracts you to these places, and challenge yourself to see things in a new way, all while filling your belly.

Opt for a short-term rental instead of a resort or large hotel

This allows you to have a functioning kitchen to go to the local market and select produce, live for a short time in the community and neighbourhood, and mingle with local residents. Look at the place you are travelling to and choose your Air Bnb or another short-term let as though you were moving there. Find the most exciting arts districts, nightlife centres, or food markets. This is a great way to have an immersive experience in a new place.

Travel ethically

To travel ethically is to remember that your tourism profoundly impacts the environment, culture, animals, and economy of the place you are visiting. In many ways, tourism has a significant global impact. Travelling ethically is to be mindful of how you impact the places you visit and allows you to make conscientious decisions about what you choose to do, see, and purchase. Having an immersive travel experience is always spent as a guest, and your experience is always fundamentally from the lens of your cultural perspective.

Walk around and get a little lost

While this still requires some planning to ensure you will be safe and also ethical, walking in the place you’re in is an amazing way to find interesting local gems, meet new people, eat great food, and explore the architecture. Always pack a cozy pair of shoes and charge your phone, and you’re ready for an adventure.

Talk to the people around you

If you find a local restaurant, ask your server about what to see or do in the area. Talking to the people around you can often lead to fun experiences and recommendations by people in the industry who live and play in the area. You can get amazing local recommendations for any place you visit by being open to making new friends.

Find local spots to do your favourite hobbies

Do you love rock climbing, running, surfing, reading, or playing board games? Finding a spot to do your favourite activities is a great way to socialize and meet new people. The joy of travel is often meeting lifelong companions in new places. Making new friends is a great way to have an intimate and engaging experience abroad––even for a short trip. Try to find out if there are any places to do your favourite activities in every new place you visit and you may find friends worldwide.

Shop local

Find small stores, markets, street vendors, and second-hand shops to discover local treasures and support the local economy. No matter where you travel, you can always find a small coffee shop, a beautiful boutique, or a great local craft market. These gifts are far more beautiful and sentimental than a snow globe–trust us!

Wherever you go, always pack Blue Cross travel insurance.

When you’re jet-setting to new and exciting places, ethically volunteering in a community, or travelling for work, Blue Cross can protect you front the costs of unforeseen emergencies. Get a quote or apply today to protect your trip.