Whether or not you're a seasoned world traveler it's surprisingly simple to travel like one. What's not so simple is traveling like a local. Where do the locals go to eat, hang out and sight see? You're definitely not going to find out in your Lonely Planet guidebook or by searching the "best places to get pho" on Yelp. So, what should you be doing every trip you take to really explore a new place? Read on and take note.
Quimet & Quimet: The best tapas bar in Barcelona. Believe me, I know, I've been there.
Whether you’re traveling abroad or simply taking a road trip a few states over it’s imperative that you talk to the people around you. If you really want to know the best place to get tapas in Barcelona ask the Abuela you meet on the metro and she'll be sure to steer you in the right direction. Want to figure out where the local University students to go hang out? Ask the boys playing frisbee at the beach. Make a point to talk to the people seated next to you at restaurants, preparing you a drink at the bar, or those you run into on a hike. You never know what insider intel you’ll pick up on!
With our smartphone GPS systems never far away, the age-old threat of getting lost has been all but erased. Sure, that may save you from some frustrating or stressful moments, but so long as you have nowhere to be in a timely matter—and you’re not putting yourself in danger—getting lost is a great way to become familiar with a place and stumble upon unexpected things. Forgo your maps for one afternoon and get lost. Sometimes venturing off the beaten path is the best way experience the subtle sounds, scents and ebb and flow of a place.
Do you really need 3 pairs of identical jeans? How much do you think you're actually going to wear those 5-inch stiletto heels? Pack essentials that you can mix, match and layer and be willing to trade trendy for comfortable and practical. Rolling your clothes instead of folding them will save tons of baggage space, leaving you with extra room for all the souvenirs you pick up along the way!
Learn the Language:
Don’t give legs to the “ugly American” stereotype. Before your trip, read up on essential phrases so you’re not clueless upon arrival. If you missed the study period, pick up a pocket dictionary at the airport and try it out—most people will appreciate your effort, even if you’re struggling. At the very least, it will help you navigate even the most tricky of menus, saving you from ordering the cow's tongue special and then feeling obligated to eat it!
Eat something new. Try something that makes you scared. Resist the temptation to plan, plan, plan. Whatever your comfort zone is, push yourself outside of it—even if it’s just an inch or two. A truly great and memorable trip will teach you something about yourself—and may even change you a bit. The only way to do that is to shake things up.