There are two ways to travel when you’re on vacation. You can opt for the touristy route where you’ll follow the travel guides to a T, see every site on the map, and have everything planned from sunrise to sunset. There are definitely some advantages to traveling as a tourist, but some people prefer taking the local approach. This style of travel focuses on enjoying the essence of each destination. There’s greater stress on exploration, trying new things, and authenticity. Here are some tips for how to travel like a local without sacrificing comfort.


Do your research beforehand.

Familiarity is the main factor that separates tourists from locals. The more you know about your travel destination, the more connected you’ll feel. Before your trip, take a few days to read up on the area’s history, language, cuisine, and anything else you find interesting. You’ll find that this background knowledge gives you an extra feeling of excitement and intrigue when you finally visit.


Learn some of the local language.

Language is one of the biggest barriers keeping tourists from feeling like a local. Anything you can do to chip away at that obstacle can really make your trip more memorable and meaningful. There are plenty of websites and apps that can help you learn enough of the local language to make a genuine connection. Whether you can order an entire meal or just say “good morning” to a passerby, these interactions are bound to make you feel a bit closer to the locals.


Book an authentic tour.

Tours can be a great way to experience your destination, but nobody wants to spend a whole day walking around museums. While you try to fight back that yawn, let us suggest taking an authentic tour with a local guide. Many providers are starting to offer more personalized and genuine tours to meet the growing demand for “local” experiences. Whether you prefer a wine-tasting tour through the countryside or scoping out local music venues, there’s something for everybody.


Take a cooking class.

There’s a reason you hardly ever see locals at fancy restaurants when on vacation. They’re all at home enjoying local delicacies, and you can too! A cooking class is a great way to immerse yourself in the gastronomic culture of your destination. After all, sharing a meal with others is one of the most intimate travel experiences you can have. You’ll learn local cooking techniques, proper dining etiquette, and leave with a deeper appreciation for the destination’s cuisine.


Look for accommodations with cultural experiences.

The demand for “authentic” travel experiences is on the rise, and many providers are paying attention. It’s not uncommon for hotels or resorts to offer cultural excursions in addition to accommodation. These cultural experiences might be cooking classes, pub crawls, historic reenactments, or a host of other special activities aimed at connecting visitors with the country’s culture. Finding accommodation that offers these extras is a great way to feel more like a local while saving a little bit of money.


Ditch the map and your watch.

Sometimes, you have to think the opposite of what a tourist does in order to experience a destination like a local. Fold up that map and throw that watch in your backpack. Pick an area in the city to explore and just start walking. Let curiosity and excitement be your guide. Take random turns and don’t be afraid to get lost. Everything you come across will be a pleasant surprise. Maybe you’ll find the best hole-in-the-wall restaurant, a rustic pub, a hidden park, or a stunning overlook. No matter what you find, you can rest assured you’re experiencing it like a local.


No matter how you want to travel, it’s always a good idea to have a trusted expert on your side. The experienced team of travel planners at CI Azumano Travel can help tailor every detail of your trip to your personal preferences. Let us help turn that dream trip into a reality. For the moments you want, be sure to work with the experts that know.