Tourist vs. Traveler: How to Experience Your Next Vacation Like a Local

Want a unique way to enjoy your next vacation? Pretend you’re not a tourist! The next time you go to a new area for your vacation, skip all of the usual tourist traps and drive around the area as though it were your hometown. Here are some examples of how to experience your next vacation like a local.

Don’t Stop for Directions

If you normally follow a map very carefully to find your vacation destinations, the first step you should take is to ditch your map. Take a drive around the town and see what it has to offer. Most maps, especially those from the tourist stop, only point out the big items all of the tourists are viewing on their vacations. Broaden your horizon and see what the locals see.

Avoid Tourist Traps

Speaking of the tourist stop, why not avoid it altogether? Ask the employees at your hotel what they like most about their town and then check those places out. This is the best way to find the restaurants and shops the locals like. While you’re out and about, talk to other people while you’re waiting for your table or standing in line at the movies. Discover what the locals like to do in their hometown instead of being stuck with the usual tourist traps.

Don’t Stand out as a Tourist

To make a better connection with the locals, don’t wear a sign that screams, “I’m a tourist!” Instead of carrying around your camera case, tourist book, and maps, use your smartphone to take pictures, ask for directions, and use your own common sense to find places you want to see.

Update Your Friends on Your Vacation

Use the pictures you took with your smartphone to update your friends and family on your vacation. Post the pictures to your Facebook page, along with a description of what you’ve seen and done. Have postcards made from the pictures and mail them to your friends. Act as if you live in the area you’re vacationing in, and want to show it off to everyone you know.

Make Friends

If you were living in a new area, would you avoid meeting new people and making friends? Of course not! So why should you while on your vacation? Get to know other people in town. If you strike up a conversation with a friendly couple at dinner, invite them to a movie. Find out who’s available to go on a drive with you the next morning. Making friends on vacation can be an added bonus.

Meet Someone Special

If you’re single, why not check out a connection you feel with one of your new friends? If there’s a spark, see where it goes. Just because you’re not staying in town doesn’t mean you can’t start a new romance. Who knows where it might lead?

Experiencing your vacation like a local will allow you to relax and do what you want to do, not what a travel book or guide is telling you what to do. So go for a drive, get lost, meet some people, and find your own fun. Enjoy!

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He's an avid gadget geek and spends most of his time reading or writing.

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