Ways to live like a local when abroad
Skip the main tourist traps and find your own sweet spots around the city
One of my favorite things to do when I am abroad is to find my own favorite places instead of what I just can find on the internet. This is not to say you should not see the monumental sites that are landmarks of the cities you travel to. Instead, make it a priority to find time to explore. You will seem to find your favorite spots when you stumbled upon them instead of getting lost in the Travel.com searches.
Ask for help from locals!
When I had lived in London one summer ago, I asked my AirBnb owner for help on where to go. I specifically said though, “I do not want to be a tourist”. Meaning, I do not want to go where everyone else is, I want to know what you suggest me to do.
Skip the silly souvenirs and get local goods.
I love a good classic souvenir, but what if instead of getting a cheap plastic “chochky”, you saved up for your trip and splurged on a local item? Give your family a gift from the city that is the cities specialty. For example, in Stockholm I got hand crafted Swedish jewelry, clogs, and dish towels as gifts.
Use local transportation and not Uber.
If it is safe, I highly suggest finding out how to use the public transportation system. The best of this is, that usually the subway systems have the directions also written in English, so it is easy for you to navigate. One of my favorite apps that a local told me about was Citymapper. There are many cities that have this and I hate to say it, but it is better than Google Maps. FOR REAL. Your wallet will thank you for being so generous with your cash. No more expensive Uber’s while abroad!
Put the phone and camera down!
You might be thinking… Gina, but that is what you do when you travel? Trust us we have seen the photos… Okay so yes, take all the photographs you need to snap that perfect picture. What I really mean by this is, choose your moments wisely. Take your photos and then put your phone away. Your biggest regret will be not being more present at the table when you are at dinner abroad. Not focusing on what is around you and looking up to see culture right before your eyes.