Making the most of local experiences

When you're travelling, it can be difficult to escape the tourist trail. You stay in a hotel removed from the residential areas of the town or city, you eat in "tourist-friendly" restaurants, you spend your time at tourist sights and attractions... but are you missing out on the local experiences of your destination?

What are local experiences?

Local experiences are often, but not always, related to culture. For example, you can lie on a beach anywhere, but you can only find that atmosphere in Morocco. Or you can tour the major sights of London, but you'll miss out on that little pub tucked down a side street. It's often the local attractions that give a place its character and individuality.

How can I make the most of these local experiences?

Learn the language - Ok so you might not become fluent for the sake of a two week holiday, but you could very easily learn the words for "hello", "goodbye", "please", "thank you", "excuse me", "that one" and other handy words and phrases. Locals will appreciate your efforts and it often serve as a very good ice breaker.

Speak to the locals - Strike up a conversation with someone on a bus, or in the queue for a coffee, or waiting at the pedestrian crossing... the chances are that they would be happy to recommend some great attractions and hidden jewels that are off the typical tourist track. You could be surprised at just how keen people are to show off their town or city!

Ask at your hotel - Even if there's no official concierge desk, a friendly member of staff will probably be only too happy to recommend local experiences in the area. Remember that the staff will live locally - so anyone from the cleaners to the waiters to the receptionists could be a great source of local information.

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