With most people working full time jobs and a limited amount of vacation days to take advantage of, it’s crucial that the vacations we plan become the experience of a lifetime. A generic policy of around two or three weeks off from work means that each day away needs to be lived to the full extent and cannot be wasted.
Anyone who goes to Paris can see the Eiffel Tower, but only those who have local connections can get a tour of the untraveled passageways in the catacombs. Likewise, Everyone knows about Times Square in New York but not many tourists, if any, know about Fig 19--a Lower East Side speakeasy behind an unassuming art gallery door.
For those of you who want to take the road less traveled and see the sights that the locals know about, here are some tips and tricks to turn your trip into a lifelong memory:
1) Make an effort to meet local people
This goes without saying. Instead of going to the concierge at your hotel, go out to eat and meet people who actually live in the city you’re in like waiters and waitresses or the cute girl/guy at the bar. Ask them what the favorite hangout spot is for the locals. Odds are that it’s not where you’re currently eating.
2) Eat everything you see
Go outside of your comfort zone. Every nationality has classic dishes embedded in their traditions and these are what you need to try. If you’re French and traveling to Bolivia, don’t find yourself enjoying a croque monsieur over lunch. Cuy may seem like an odd entrée to you, but for them it’s a typical meal.
3) Ditch your guidebook
Every classically organized tourist has swung by a bookstore before their trip to pick up a Fodor’s, Frommer’s or Lonely Planet type book. And guess what? Every classically organized tourist is going to be at one of those destinations in those books. If you choose that route, it will be more comfortable and familiar as opposed to an amazing adventure.
4) Find a local residence
Staying in a hotel chain keeps you connected to something familiar from home. If you rent an apartment, with AirBnB for example, it encourages you to go to the local market and cook with their fresh ingredients. It also keeps you away from other tourists and is a chance to live amongst the locals becoming fully immersed in the culture.
5) Plan to not plan ahead (just a little bit)
If every activity you plan is coordinated in advance of your trip, it’s quite possible that you will find yourself spending too much time on one activity that you didn’t love, and not enough time on something you found incredible. Our suggestion is to have a local tour guide take you to some off the beaten path spots at the start of your trip, and then figure out what you like from there. That way you have time to put towards the experiences you want to have.
It’s not about when or where you go on vacation, it’s how you choose to spend your time while you’re there. This is where FoodieTrip comes in. It’s the perfect opportunity for a local to help show you around with no guidebooks needed. Once you book your tour, you can sit back and enjoy the tastes, smells, and sights of the culture around you.