There was a time when tourists wanted to be fed, pampered and moved from country to country en masse only to return home thinking their vacation was a success because they had “an escape.” But now the world is more accessible and travelers are more educated about their destinations. They don’t want escape, they want experiences.
Enter the hottest trend in tourism: Experiential Travel.
According to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, 48% of the people surveyed seek more meaningful experiences when they travel. They want to immerse themselves in the culture and heritage of their destination.
“Seasoned travelers want an authentic, local experience versus a standard tourist itinerary,” said David Patron, Vice President of American Express Travel. “These are people who invest in travel, they want to do more than just see a destination they want to live like a local.” Patron continued, “When a traveler visits a destination they want to understand the local traditions and feel like they are getting a true insider experience.”
So I got to wondering, what exactly allows us to be on vacation yet live like a local? I think this topic is so important, I’ve decided to make this my first blog series! Over the next few weeks I’ll give you eight specific ideas on how to…
Live Like A Local
1. Meet The Residents – Just yesterday a friend told me about a trip she took recently. She didn’t tell me about a museum, nor did she speak of her hotel. She told me that she and her husband met a lovely couple who had invited them to their home for cocktails. “It was so great to see how the locals lived,” she said.
Yes! That’s what we love, feeling like we are part of the community. That we belong there. Friendships connect us to a place like nothing else can. Michael Hodson, The Overland Traveler, said, “I can’t say this enough— the world is bigger and better than you imagine and the people… even better than that.” Mike has a great blog. You can find him here at www.goseewrite.com
How do you meet the residents? Same way you do at home: at church, in an exercise class, at the market, in the pub, in an art gallery, at a concert, fishing. Simply asking someone a question is a great way to start. Put on your happy face and make a new friend.
There’s one other way to meet locals. Home exchange. (You knew I had to say it, didn’t you?) When you home exchange you have neighbors and neighbors are residents! If you’re lucky, your home exchange partner will arrange for an introduction. Sometimes, your neighbors will invite you over for dinner. That’s the absolute BEST!
Tune in next week for my next How to Live Like a Local tip.
What’s your favorite way to meet new people?