Want to get the most out of your travels? Blend in with the locals! - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Want to get the most out of your travels? Blend in with the locals!

Blend in with the locals

The saying goes “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” What that famous quote is essentially saying is to blend in with the locals! When you’re traveling to a new country, the locals can spot out a tourist like a sore thumb. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. It can be a good thing in the sense that if they know you need help, they’re happy to help but it can also work against you in the sense that some locals will try to take advantage of you and pose ill intentions towards you.

If you had to choose, you would ideally want to blend in with the locals. Not only is it going to teach you how to adapt to new surroundings but it’s also going to allow you to get the most out of your travels by immersing yourself in the culture.

Our perception of each other is rather funny if you think about it… There are tell-tale signs every culture has that lets locals know that “they aren’t from here!” It’s everything from how you dress to your mannerisms… all those things can set yourself apart from the locals in a foreign country.

Immersing yourself in a new culture and blending in with the locals can be a bit of a challenge for some, especially if you’re traveling solo and have never travelled abroad before. But that’s the great thing about it… You don’t know anyone there so if you do embarrass yourself, you don’t know them and they don’t know you.

One thing is for sure… it’s a lot less embarrassing to mess up in front of strangers than it is to mess up in front of the people you know. When you embarrass yourself in front of people you know, you’ll be the butt of jokes for years to come… when you embarrass yourself in front of strangers, your embarrassment won’t last long because you’ll be hopping on a plane to somewhere else pretty soon, and you can leave that embarrassing moment in that particular country!

Whether you’re a digital nomad, traveling long-term, or taking a sabbatical, if you’re traveling to a foreign country and want to get the most out of your travels, you’re going to have to blend in with the locals… after all, when in Rome, right?

Blending in with the Locals

Research the traditions and customs

Local meeting in the gorgeous desert of Wadi Rum, Jordan

Wherever you’re traveling to, you want to take the time out before you board the plane to research the traditions and customs of your travel destination… there’s nothing worse than calling the wrong attention to yourself as the “cultural clutz.”

Every culture has some form of a cultural faux pas… some of them are true and some of them aren’t but the best way to avoid them is to research local customs. Things like certain hand gestures and greetings that might be acceptable in your culture might be extremely offensive in another culture so make sure to do proper research ahead of time.

Go easy on tourist fashion

In deep prayer at Longshan Temple, Taipei, Taiwan

You’re probably thinking “Tourist fashion? What’s that exactly?” Oh, you know what tourist fashion is… It’s the khaki cargo pants with the hundreds of outer pockets… It’s the clear fanny pack that’s filled with hand sanitizer, local guides, your wallet, and attraction pamphlets. Those two items alone scream TOURIST!

Backpacks also say “tourist” as well but not as much as someone holding a big map! The thing that separates backpacks in the sea of tourists is that backpacks can be used for anything. You could be a student carrying your books in it. You could also be a digital nomad carrying your laptop in it to start the process of building your first website at a local coffee shop…

The point is that backpacks get more of a pass than fanny packs, water bottle holsters, and cargo pants with millions of pockets, so lose the unnecessary get-ups and blend in… The best way to do it is to look up pictures online and to also take mental notes as soon as you arrive. Just be observant of people passing you by and how they dress.

Go where the locals go

Kids of Fethiye, Turkey go for a day out

So you’ve made the decision to interact with the locals, now all you have to do is find them. Talk to staff members at hotels and local coffee shops to find out where everyone goes for fun. You can even ask the staff what they like to do for fun. You also want to keep in mind that depending on your schedule, you might have to make some adjustments. You might be in a town where the city comes alive at night versus during the day… figure that out and then go mix and mingle with the locals!

Eat like a local

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a traveller is to go to destinations and eat the same things as you would in your hometown. Of course, lots of foreign countries have chain restaurants there but why on Earth would you eat there! According to spoonuniversity.com, tasting different foods is the best part of traveling. In fact, there are people in the world who base their whole vacations around foods that are in a particular location! Those people are called “foodies.”

If you’re visiting Italy, you’re going to want to eat authentic Italian food, not Olive Garden! It’s not that Olive Garden isn’t delicious or authentic but you’re in Italy for crying out loud… go to a local eatery and enjoy some local, authentic Italian food.

You can actually learn a lot from eating like a native too. You will learn anything from not going out to dinner after a certain time to knowing which utensils go for which types of foods… believe it or not, there are different types of eating utensils besides forks, knives, and spoons.

Are you blending yet?

Young Boys from Punakha, Bhutan

So at this point, you have a working guide to help you get the most out of your travels and the secret is to blend in with the locals… It might be difficult at first but think of it like getting into a pool… the water is cold when you first get in but the longer you stay in the water, the more the water warms up to you. That’s how blending in with the locals will feel.

Welcome to BE ON THE ROAD Travel Blog! I am Sankara, its founder, a 40 something male from Bangalore who is living his dream of exploring the world and simultaneously trying to inspire others to live their dream.
Wanna live your dream? Find Some inspiration here!
Wanna know more about me?
Track blog updates from facebook and/or twitter!

Logo Credits : Jobi T Chacko. UI/UX Credits : Murugan S Thirumalai
Copyright © 2009-2024 Sankara Subramanian C (www.beontheroad.com)
Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. All Rights Reserved

Join the Travel Club for FREE!!
and every fortnight get in your inbox...interesting experiential and off-beat travel stories , destination guides, handy tips (travel, photography and visa) based on personal experience, global vegetarian delights with helpful survival guides and gorgeous world travel images and videos as I (the Indian traveler) trot the globe! And a lot of other travel invites and soon to be launched goodies !

* indicates required