If you think about what the best part of traveling is, hands down it’s got to be immersing yourself in a completely new city and culture, totally different from your own. And once you do that, it’s about getting to know the people who live there — the locals. But it can be hard to meet locals, especially if you’re traveling solo. Here are some essential tips to getting in good with the city’s local people and hopefully making new friends along the way.
One great way to start meeting locals is to dine where they dine! Websites www.bonappetour.com and www.eatwith.com both connect travelers and chefs in cities all over the globe who will actually bring you into their home and make you dinner. How cool is that? Usually you’re in a fairly small group of people so it’s a great chance to get to know and meet like-minded people, as well as get a taste of real, authentic food from that city. Plus you’re learning about the culture, and you can even ask the chef about some awesome restaurant recommendations! It’s amazing.
Another fantastic site for you — www.spottedbylocals.com has guides that are created by locals in more than 60 cities around the world. One of the best ways to actually get to know some locals is by not following the other tourists. This site will give you the secret spots including bars, restaurants and other entertainment places that are just buzzing with locals. It’s a surefire way to meet and get to know them!
Some people might not be totally comfortable with the idea of staying at a random person’s home while traveling, but for the more adventurous types, a great way to get chummy with the locals is to sleep on their couch. Tons of people have used www.couchsurfing.com and have had amazing experiences where their host welcomed them, showed them around the city, and introduced them to hidden fantastic places that they would never have found on their own, or even in a guidebook. Plus, some might even cook for you. It’s certainly worth a try!
Most cities have great events and can offer you a ton of different kinds, from music festivals to outdoor theaters to sports games at any given moment. You might be surprised what comes up when you’re checking out the city’s entertainment listings and it’s a great way to enjoy the city’s unique events and hopefully meet some locals. Sounds like an obvious one, but necessary!
Yeah you might be on vacation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try out your favorite hobby in a foreign place! Meetup.com has activity meetups for cities all over the world, so it’s an awesome way to see if your favorite pastime is listed in the dozens of hobby categories posted — it most likely is. Love cooking? Try taking a cooking class. Love getting down? Partake in a dance class. From hiking to drawing to language exchange to photography — the list is endless and you might just find a local who shares a common interest with you. Chances are pretty high you will!
You’re already traveling — that’s pretty adventurous. Now take that to the next level and use these five travel hacks to meet and get to know some locals — your experience will become that much more enriching and fulfilling. You’ll be so happy you did.