Because these days no one wants to feel like a tourist….
Culturally we’re stepping away from being holidaymakers, and moving on to becoming travellers. Sybarites no longer want to simply escape - rather we want experiences. Consequently we crave authenticity. We want to know the low-down on the hidden spots: read the locals only beaches, the off-the-beaten-track coffee shops… Of course it can be hardto find these… after all, if they were featured in the guidebooks, then every Tom, Dick and Harry would know about them right?
Fortunately for you, dear reader, The Sybarite has done the hard work for you. Here are six ways to seek and find authentic travel experiences, enabling you to truly live like a local whole overseas…
Eat with locals
Arguably there’s no better way to both literally and metaphorically get a taste of the local culture than by eating with a local. Enter VizEat (www.vizeat.com) - Europe’s largest social dining network (which can be accessed via the platform on your desktop or on your iOS mobile) which enables you to find locals in your travel destination du jour, with whom you can share an unforgettable and authentic travel experience.
Travel with locals
Get around like the locals. If the city you’re visiting is cycle friendly - takea bow Brussels, Berlin and Copenhagen - then head to the cycle lanes! If pedal power has yet to catch on, use an app like GoEuro (www.goeuro.co.uk) to help you navigate your way around the local public transport system. While you’re at it, take the road less travelled. When you purposefully turn left instead of right, or take a few turns off of the main high street, that’s when you’re more likely to find a quirky boutique, hidden gem of a cafe, undiscovered park or even - depending on where you are - a secret back-beach!
Stay with a local
Thanks to platforms like Airbnb (www.airbnb.co.uk), this is easier to do than ever. Just jump on, search for your destination (currently there are hosts in over 191 countries - for the trivia buffs out there, that’s nearly all of them!) and request to stay. If you’re new to the platform or have any reservations about making a, ahem, reservation, just seek out the properties with lots of five star ratings and check out the user feedback.
Shop with the locals
Try and learn a little of the local language before touching down in your chosen destination. It’s not always necessary – particularly in places like the UAE and Oman where English is the lingua franca – but will help integrate you into the community, in addition to making it easier to hit the shops. Sure you might not able to speak the languagefluently but you will feel more confident in stepping off the well-trodden high street equivalent paths. Local markets, particularly those not right in the tourist hotspots, can provide hours worth of fabulous people watching opportunities and local interaction and are a great way to observe first-hand the sights and smells and the cultural business and social interactions of your destination. Our message? Download language learning apps like Duolingo (www.duolingo.com) now and pick up a few usual phrases to try out during future shopping expeditions.
Sightsee with the locals
When you’re in a new place, there’s nothing better than having a local guide to take you around. There are loads of commercial tours - both on foot or by bus - available to be found and booked online but the best tours are those run by life long locals. London bound? Book a tour with Talk of the Town London (www.talkofthetownlondon.com) - a dynamic walking tour company comprising life long Londoners who are on a mission to share their love of London because they don’t want Sybarites to spend a minute of their time in Europe’s most exciting metropolis, lost in the tourist trap that is Leicester Square… For other European destinations, look out for Free Walking Tours By Locals (www.freewalkingtoursbylocals.com) where you can sign up for a free tour run by, you guessed it, a local.
And last but not least, plan - only not too much. Be sure to leave time in your itinerary for those unexpected, unforgettable travel experiences….