First in Service News

10 Tips to Travel Like a Local

Everywhere we look we’re being encouraged to travel like a local. It is amazing advice. But what exactly does that mean? We turned to our globe-trotting specialists to see how they enrich their travels with a few tricks of the trade.

Have breakfast where the locals go. Getting out of the hotel for the first meal of the day gives you an authentic taste of how locals live, what they eat and how they interact. You’ll probably discover a tasty breakfast treat too.  Maria Mendez


Stephen Scott in the Atacama Desert

Strike up conversations with stranger you meet on a daily basis. Don’t be shy (but be wise). It’s fun to talk to locals – even if your attempt at their language isn’t perfect. There are ways we can all understand each other and communicate successfully! Remember, smiles are universal, and go a long way when opening doors to what can result in amazing conversations! – Leah Winck

Take local transportation. When traveling abroad, step outside of the comfort and convenience of taxis and car services. Local transportation and private transportation are two separate worlds. To know a destination is to get around the way locals do. – John Rios


Joanna Kuflik in Gastown, Vancouver

Visit the local farmers markets.  Every town, city and village has at least one – and it’s an immediate sense of immersion.  Take in the gorgeous array of flowers, fruit, spices and local necessities like tajines, butter stamps or even a wooden spoon.  Haggle over the purchase, but do not walk away without a culinary treasure or two. Once you return home, you will savor the wafting memories of your travels with every stir of the spoon!  – Susan Quillin

Wake up early to seize the day! I love to go grab a coffee outside of my hotel and just walk around with no specific purpose. This “me time” is the perfect opportunity to see a city wake up and come alive. Karina Martinez

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Erika Reategui at Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu

Travel off season. While it’s fabulous going to the South of France in July, for example, visiting in October or November will let you experience the destination in a less busy environment, surrounded mostly by locals as opposed to other tourists. While you may not have 24/7 beach days (though plenty of sunny ones), you get a more “real” experience of what life is like – and a fuller immersion into the local culture.  – Joanna Kuflik

Toast like the locals. When unwinding at the end of a busy day, we all have our go-to drinks whether it’s with or without alcohol. Find out what the local drink specials are. You may find a new fruit combination that can light up your spirits at home, help you relax while abroad, or taste something you have never experienced before. Your taste buds will give you a sense of the history and culture of the amazing destination that you are in.   Stephen Scott

Do something a bit daring. Each time your travel, try something that you would never think of doing. Climb a mountain or a bridge, go sea kayaking, feed a giraffe, take a cooking class, make your own wine, go hot air ballooning. Inspire your inner self. – Erika Reategui

Iceland Fernando and Sofia Gonzalez snowmobiling in Iceland

Fernando and Sofia Gonzalez snowmobiling in Iceland

Explore ethnic neighborhoods late in the afternoon and stay for dinner.
You will be away from tourist traps, will get to meet the locals, and will avoid paying high prices for dinner. Mayla Melo

Visit a neighborhood gallery. There are always emerging local artists to add to your art collection. It’s a beautiful – and inspiring – way to remind you of your travels when you get home. – Fernando Gonzalez   

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