How to travel like a local

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Do you want to travel like a local? There is no secret to do it, and you don’t need to be a rocket scientist, just embrace the local culture and follow some advice.

To travel like a local sounds like a jargon among travelers, as we all want to make the most of our trips, have difefrent experience and to try so many things. The questions we hear the most are: how do you enjoy a new place? How do you get to discover it? How to find the local life?

It all depends on what do you want and the experience you want to have. If you are on holidays and just want to relax, book a 5 stars resort and stay there enjoying the pool, the weather and all the amenities. You don’t like resorts? Not willing to pay the price tag? Do you want to have a unique and different experience? Don’t worry, there are plenty of alternatives for you. And it’s here that we start talking about traveling live like a local.


Have you questioned yourself about how local people spend their free time? If you ask to the hotel receptionist what restaurant he recommends or where is a nice bar, he will probably give the same answer as he gives to all guests: a typical touristic place. Is he wrong? No!!!! The question was wrong! You should have asked: Where do YOU go for lunch/dinner? What is YOUR favourite bar/club?

We get to know amazing places just asking the right question to taxi drivers, hotel workers, sales staff, bank staff… Just ask the right question to the right people [the local people]. The same applies when you are looking for a new pair of shoes, to get a haircut, to fix a broken camera… And that’s how you start to travel and live like a local.

How to travel like a local?

You can  maximize your travel experiences by staying in someone’s house. There are several websites where you can find accommodation with local people. Most of the time we use  Airbnb to sort out our rooms. You can meet great people and make new friends!

We already stayed with a french DJ, a great couple in Lisbon [who became good friends], exchanged valuable travel tips with a British couple in Malaga, learnt a lot about Marseille with Sophie and her guinea pigs, enjoyed a delicious “feijoada” in an Italian/Brazilian house! Memorable moments!

There is also Couchsurfing, we haven’t used it yet. But our friends that use it, love it! While the accommodation in Airbnb is paid, in Couchsurfing it is for free. You also can try house and pet sitting, this is our favourite way to get free accommodation and local experience, we became experts on it! 😉

Another way to meet local people is while hopping from one place to the other. Despite chatting on the bus, train or plane, you should try BlablaCar. It’s a website that connects drivers offering space in their cars and traveller that need a ride. Again, we met great people and they gave us some awesome travel tips! Almost forgot, it’s cheaper than bus or train! A good way to save money while traveling

A smart traveler knows where his/her money goes. Do you know if your bank and credit card charges for international transactions? Some fees will scary you. Research which one suits you better. There are companies that does not charge for using your card abroad so you can withdraw money or use your credit card as a local does. 

When you are abroad, as a traveler, student or for work, open your mind to a new culture. If you are an Irish, please take a break from Irish Pubs. Brazilians: don’t go to “Samba Nights”. Italians for sure you can survive without pizza for a couple of days… Stereotypes, I know, I know… My point is: go for the new! Discover the local!

Try to travel like a local, embrace the new culture, try different foods and drinks, learn a new dance or a new language. You will not regret and when you go back home you will appreciate even more your own culture!

When you travel, how do you discover the local side of a destination? Please, share you travel tips!

PS:. Wrote by a Brazilian that was 4 months without eating “feijoada”. Have it last week and it was SOOOOOOO good! Tks Elvio! [our Airbnb host]

13 thoughts on “How to travel like a local”

  1. Grande casal! Leio todo dia os posts de vocês! Fico feliz por essa jornada que estão tendo.
    Em dezembro, dia 10, estarei em Bangkok. Vocês estarão por lá?

    • Obrigado por acompanhar a gente!
      Teoricamente estaremos lá dezembro, mas ultimamente o plano tem mudado um pouquinho. Mantemos contato!

  2. Don’t worry, no one likes us on couch surfing yet either 🙁

    The day will come though, just got to get our feet in the door.

    Nice post!

  3. Some great tips. When traveling we often miss some great things that you can see and do. Chatting to local people can make a big difference!

    • That´s so true Tara!!!
      Yesterday I had an amazing moment with an old lady here in the Bulgarian countryside, even not speaking a word in their language she manage to invite me to teach how to prepare a local herbal tea and give a piece of cake. And all this started with a simple smile at the local shop. That was a unique local experience!
      All the best,


  4. Great suggestions that are simple tips to help you become immersed in the local culture and atmosphere! I always enjoy being part of local and everyday life and events, it makes the travel so much more meaningful!

  5. I used to be in love with Couchsurfing. I actually have a good number of feedbacks. I met a lot of people, a couple of which bacame my good friends. I also had not so good experiences, but all that time I thought CS is wonderful.
    But I got tired of it with time. Wehn I travel I want to be left alone at the end of the day and I just want to relax. Maybe I just got too old for that.
    I now only use CS when I travel alone and when I get lonely, but I never stay at someone’s house for longer than 3 days.

    • Hey Jo!!
      Thanks for stopping by!! I agree with you, sometimes I only want to stay quite and relax in the room. When you are couchsurfing sometimes you don´t have this total privacy! Anyway, it´s a cheap and interesting way to travel.
      All the best and happy travels!
      Nat 🙂

  6. I usually try and travel like a local whenever I can, although I must admit that it’s easier not to. It always feels like traveling like a local is a little more homework. You have to do more research about the place beforehand, and spend time talking to the locals in the city about their favorite places. But, for me, it’s totally worth it 🙂


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