Meet the Locals.
This may sound simple. But you’d be surprised how many people go on vacation and visit places based only on what they’ve read about or seen on a Top 10 list. Now we know what you’re thinking.
I don’t do that. I independently research my destinations, things to do and restaurants to try via the web, colleagues and word-of-mouth.
And that’s great. We’re not saying you shouldn’t do that. Actually you should. But what about when you get there? If you simply rely on the hotel staff for suggestions (who truthfully often have mutually-beneficial partnerships with local restaurants – so hotel staff will always suggest the names of those particular restaurants), you will probably be missing out on so much during your visit!
Instead, we advise you to get out and meet the locals. Disclaimer: Now, we aren’t saying put yourself in danger. Use good common sense here.
But if you are eating at a restaurant, strike up a conversation with someone at the bar. Ask your Uber driver to tell you where he/she likes to go for good drinks and great atmosphere. Don’t be afraid. When one of us took our first trip to NYC, a local ended up showing us southerners exactly how to ride the subway and where our stop should be … otherwise, who knows where we would’ve ended up!
Locals are great for advice for many reasons. There’s no bias. They have no obligation to tell you to go somewhere, so they’ll give you the truth, based off their own experience. And who would know a city, island, etc. better than the people who inhabit it throughout the year and have possibly lived there their entire lives? Locals can share with you the hidden gems, the best eating spots only a local would know and even offer valuable tips on how to get around. They’ll have insight a visitor’s bureau or travel agent may not.
So next time you plan your vacation, plan to take some time and mingle with the locals. It will not only enhance your vacation experience, but you may make some new friends or travel buddies!