The last major trip I went on was overseas to Europe. During my time there, I wanted to make sure that I felt as comfortable and ‘at home’ as possible. In a way, I’ve always wanted to live on that side of the ocean. The architecture speaks to me and the food is too good for words. By going on this trip it reminded me why it’s so important to travel like a local.
Choosing to be spontaneous during a trip to an unfamiliar place was an adventure. Not setting your expectations and simply venturing the city allows you to set your mindset like a local would. For example, in Paris, there are so many famous cafes’ to visit but instead of planning where to go we would eat at the nearest location. This allowed us to learn about the spot while we were actually eating there. We did plan along the way but we did spontaneous activities in between. For instance, our group knew we wanted to visit the Eiffel Tower a certain day, therefore our main objective would be to visit the Eiffel Tower but the time in between would be to venture the city nearby the location we needed to be.
Home, not Hotel
During our two-week stay in countries like England, Ireland, and France; my travel group decided it would be more fit to stay in an Airbnb. This was the absolute best decision in terms of ‘living like a local’. The location in which a person stays is very important to how the atmosphere will be like in the end. We did our research and loved every single area that we stayed in. The main reason we chose staying in the comfort of a home rather than a hotel is because, it gave us the option of cooking inside, storing more of our belongings, and becoming familiar with the neighborhood. In all aspects this felt like for me, just moving in and learning about my surroundings in a new city.
One of my favorite reasons why I love traveling so much is meeting new faces and learning the culture around me. In our travels, my group and I walked everywhere we went. This allowed us to connect with the places and environment around us. It’s understandable getting lost along the way while visiting a new place. This is a perfect opportunity to meet someone new and ask questions. On the bus in London, I remember looking at my map in confusion and the sweetest lady approached me and asked me if I needed help with directions. This allowed me to get connected and ask her more questions about the city and her as a person. Although traveling is about learning about new places, I think meeting new people is just as important.
In all my travels I will continue to travel like a local. It’s my favorite way to travel. Although a hotel does have its perks, it certainly is a magical experience to learn about a city in a way a local truly would.