Do as the locals do – or don’t!!
The saying “travel like a local” is true, and most of us dream that our travels will be this way, but in reality, this is hard when you venture into a new country or city for the first time. It takes a while to get your bearings, get the feel of the place and meet people. If you know people or have met people who live in that destination, then great they ARE the best travel guides to show you around. If you don’t know anyone, then you need time – time to meet, talk and get to know where and what to see and do.
My last trip to Havana, Cuba
, I was determined to meet the locals and loose myself in their culture and day to day life. Now, realistically this was impossible. Mainly because;
I was only there for 3 days
I spoke no word of Spanish except “adios”
There was no time to form friendships or alliances AND
I also had certain Cuban experiences and tourist locations that were on my bucket list while I was there.
So, living like the locals and doing what they do, would not have allowed me to do the things I did in that short time I was there.
At the beginning of this year, I visited Auckland, New Zealand, which was a good example of mixing with locals and doing what they do. I based myself in a friends house in Takapuna Beach,
a beautiful area just north of Auckland, right on the beach. We ate at local restaurants, visited bars where no tourists went and walked the streets and surrounds of the area which was eye opening and sublime.
However, his idea of what to do and show me was great, but I also really wanted to see the touristy sights. Needless to say, I ended up cutting my stay with him, and the very cool beach house, short to stay the last few days in Auckland itself. Here I did the whole tourist thing with a map and all.
To me, the best way to see a destination, is to do as much research on the area as possible before hand. This is so easy nowadays with all the travel sites and “HOW TO SEE” sites on the internet. Try and complete a rough itinerary for when you get there including maps, addresses and phone numbers so you don’t waste any time.
My biggest recommendation for visiting any place, even if its your own major city, is to embark on a day tour or catch one of the “hop-on-hop-off” busses, if they operate in that area. They give you an overall view of all the “must see” attractions and you can hop on or off as much as you like for a 24 hour period. That way you can tick off the main attractions straight away and can then get on with “living like the locals.”
Most importantly though,
Have Fun x