Three Reasons to Go Hyper-Local on Your Next Vacation
Thinking about your various travels from the previous year, you’re kind of proud of yourself. You went to Paris, and visited the Eiffel Tower. You also spent 10 days in New York City, and you made sure to take that perfect picture in front of the Statue of Liberty, for the Instagram likes of course! Oh, and you went to South America for the first time of your life, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! The day after getting there, you went to see that statue everybody’s talking about, Christ the Redeemer!
This is great, not many people can brag about traveling that often, and going to those three different (and popular) places in a single year. But when you think about it, the people you know who’ve been to those cities, visited the exact same spots, went to the same restaurants, and slept in the same hotels as you! Hmm… Not feeling that proud anymore huh? It’s still possible to distinguish yourself from your friends for your next travels (Sydney, Los Angeles and Johannesburg!), by going hyper local! Let’s see together why you should go hyper local while exploring a destination.
1. You get to know a city in depth
Nowadays, with the internet, it’s very easy to book a week of holidays almost anywhere in the world. Once you get that flight ticket, just type “city + what to do/what to see/where to sleep” on Google, and you’ll get TONS of results. Reading the different articles, you’ll notice they all suggest to go to the same places, to eat at the same restaurants, and to sleep at the same hotels.
But a city (let’s say Paris!) is not limited to 10 places, 6 restaurants, and 4 hotels! There’s a lot (I emphasise, A LOT) more to see, to discover, to explore. Even in big cities, there are ways to go off the beaten track. Do your research, get lost, decide to go to an area nobody’s talking about, and you might be pleasantly surprised!
A good way to go hyper local while exploring a destination is to go to a free walking tour. A local, usually an expert passionate about his/her city, will show you around. This is a great start, because during those free walking tours, they might show you the popular, but they almost always take you to places nobody’s talking about. Plus, you learn fun/interesting facts about the city you’re visiting.
2. You get to know the locals
A lot of people travel around the world, see many different cities and countries, but have literally zero interaction with the locals. Flight from home -> taxi to the hotel -> visiting touristic places -> taxi to the airport -> go back home. What a shame. How can you say you perfectly know this city and that country, if you didn’t talk to the locals there?
Yes, a country is made up of people, and if you don’t talk to the people, you don’t know the country. Going hyper local is a great way to discover how people in a given country think, their mind set, what they like, how they behave… If you don’t have any contacts where you plan to go, use Altertripsor Airbnb for example. You get to start talking to the host before your trip. They always give a few extra tips that are usually not just touristy stuff. It’s even better if your Airbnb host has time, he/she can can show you around.
If your host doesn’t have much time to spend with you, you can try Couchsurfing (if you’re comfortable doing this of course). Someone hosts you for free at his/her place, and you basically live like a local. This is perfect to learn a lot about people in a city, their customs, the culture… And you’re making a new friend!
3. You get to know the local food
This one is also very important. Although we eat everyday during our holidays, we usually go to restaurants we’ve read about on guides, or on a travel blog. Which is not a bad thing, but those are usually restaurants that have been promoted essentially for tourists. You look around you and you start to realize that there are no locals there and the only other people eating are tourists (just like you!).
Once again, going hyper local helps finding the best spots! Do your research. On tripadvisor, on yelp, go beyond your travel guide. In any given city, there are hundreds of restaurants. It’s not that hard, but you need to follow the first advice, which is exploring a city in depth.
The great thing about going hyper local, is that you’ll find what locals truly eat when they go to a restaurant (usually in a non touristy area). Moreover, your wallet will thank you, those restaurants are cheaper than your typical touristic restaurant, where prices are inflated and where you’ll see all the clichés of the country you’re in (they do it on purpose). Needless to say, wherever you go, going hyper local when you want to eat means no fast food, or anything you can find in your hometown! Pointless.
You get the point, going hyper local while exploring a destination has a lot of benefits. You should definitely consider this next time you go somewhere. You’ll notice that your trip won’t be same as usual, and you might get addicted to this new way of traveling as it is truly enriching.
Roobens is a travel blogger from Paris, France. He decided to leave his hometown, and started traveling by himself around the world. Follow his adventures at Been Around The Globe.