When it comes down to travelling and exploring, I am one of those that chooses to avoid the mainstream areas and look for the hidden gems. I won’t completely avoid the touristy spots, I will always go and have a look and explore, but I would much rather find places that are not known well to the world because I’ve always had that curious soul. I call this travelling like a local – whereby I skip all the tourist traps and go off on a wonder, it makes travelling so much more fun and gives you that taste of independence too - plus, you will learn so much more about the place you’re visiting which is always great.
There are more than tourist traps
Whereas they are great if you need something – especially gifts and the supermarket etc. Exploring the local areas, in my opinion is much more rewarding. There is always lots of exciting things to discover, speak to passer-by’s or maybe pick up the local newspaper and check out what they have on – entertainment wise. Maybe there’s a museum event nearby or a festival celebration in the area, you are bound to find something exciting going on.
Try to be adventurous with food choices
I can hand on heart say – local foods are the best type of foods ever! Why? Because it is unique and one of a kind. For example, you probably won’t find sweet and sour chicken in Hong Kong because it is not traditionally a Chinese dish. It is just made to suit the taste buds of westerners. Whilst travelling, try as much as you can to sample the local foods, they’re generally super yummy, cheap and the restaurants/stalls/shacks will be so appreciative that you visited and it also helps to keep them in business.
Dress like a local
Find out what the signature fashion items are for the country you are travelling to and see if you can pack your suitcase with similar suited items. Or, when you get to your destination, have a look in the small local shops, no doubt, you’ll be able to pick up something for an affordable price. I absolutely love going to markets too because there’s always such a variety of stuff. When I went to Thailand a few years back, I picked up the cutest pair of printed shorts and I was told by the owner of the stall that the print was traditional to Thailand which made me very happy indeed.
Get to know the behaviours
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget behaviours and attitudes of people in other countries are different, whereas what you experience can sometimes offend you, you have to almost take a step back and realise that whatever they say, do or think is quite possibly normal to them. How about finding a local café, where it’s almost impossible to not have a conversation with the customers or waiters and learn more about the way they are. These places are the best way to make some new friends and they can also recommend some places for you to visit, win-win situation really.
What are your favourite ways of exploring whilst travelling?