It's not about what, it's all about HOW!
What comes to our mind when we think of “What to explore?” Oh, the list is long: the mountains, the museums, anything at all that this beautiful world has to offer. The question leads to a long list of wishes, dreams and places we need to check off our list. But when I think of “How to explore?”, our minds often go blank. We have this idea of a perfect vacation in our heads, but we don’t really know how to get there and most importantly, how to experience. What’s the right spot to sit and admire the beauty of a beach? What’s the right rock to sit on and experience the city lights? Where can I get the bestest food in the city? And so on. We feel these questions are excellent to answer to make someone’s trips worthy.
One of the most painful experiences of my life has been, when I found my friends talking about their trip to Bali. It was particularly painful because I had been to Bali too, however, my trip didn’t seem half as fun as theirs. All because they just happened to have a friend in Bali. Just like that. Just a friend waiting to tell them how to really experience this extremely famous place. You would think Bali was famous enough for its travel attractions and hacks to be there online.
This painful experience and 50 travel v-logs later, I have realized that real way to travel is to do it with the locals. Here are some facts why you should travel with localites. They know the “hows” of traveling and that’s where the magic is.
Local public transportation
Tourists often end up spending lots of money simply on traveling within the city. To book ourselves a special cab or end up paying extra for our trips due to ignorance. We all know from the experiences in our city that local public transport has its own science to it. The locals know it all. The best routes, where to bargain, and not so, how to take the ‘subways’, the ‘trains’, the buses, ropeways or even boats, they know it all. The internet will tell us the primary means, but now how to take them.
The secret ingredients
“There is a craft to cooking, and then there is a craft to eating.” From top chefs to our grandparents, everyone will agree that if you don’t eat a dish a certain way, it loses its delicacies. The chopsticks, spoons or your hands, the way to eat a dish is a part of the recipe. Only a local can teach you how to eat their cuisines and special dishes. To know how to eat, is the secret ingredient you need to ask locals for.
Every city has adventures that it offers to the tourists, and then adventures that the locals experience on a daily level. The streets have their own spirit to offer. Locals can take you to secret swimming spots, the local dance and art events, their secret getaways and their favorite view of the city. If you want more from traveling, ask a local how to get it.
Dressing up for the gram
What’s the point of traveling if you don’t get a good picture for Instagram out of it. A trip is complete only when you dress up in their ethnic wear and feel like you belong to the city. The clothes are a huge part of any culture, and as much as we know we would kill it in their kimono, there is no way we could figure out how to wear one in a day. Go to a local and ask them ‘how’. It’s worth the effort.
Often people visit towns during their festive seasons, and are suddenly lost in the busy crowds and the lights. Festive seasons can be the most memorable trips, if you find out how to be a part of the celebrations. How to decorate, to perform the festive rituals and to be a part of the ceremonies, are all essentials to the experience. If you are planning to be a part of a festival, a local to tell you ‘how’ is a must.
Not all of us are fortunate enough to have friends and relatives across the globe, but it would be foolish to rely on blood relations in today’s age of internet. The global community of localites allows you to connect with locals across the globe willing to be a part of the trips for visitors in their city.
Thanks for reading.
Have a good day!
localites - travel the real world