Many people say that the world is the finest classroom there is, which makes sense in many ways. For one, the theories one learns in the four corners of a classroom are tested and experienced in real-life settings, with actual people. This is why a lot of people go out and spend time and money traveling to different places where they meet people with a different set of cultural beliefs, behavior, and personality. Ultimately, many are convinced that when it comes to gaining meaningful experiences, traveling is a better avenue than formal education.
If you’re a wanderlust and you really want to imbibe another culture during your travels and learn everything from the people you meet, here are six ways to make the most out of every trip:
Get properly dressed for the local landscape.
It’s critical when you travel to blend in with the local population and not to stand out like a sore thumb. In many places, people can be very welcoming to new faces wearing obviously foreign clothing; however, there are locations where locals are a bit apprehensive of interacting with domestic or international tourists.
You can easily break this barrier and make the local people feel very at ease with you if you dress as they do. By looking a lot like them, you’ll likely find it easier to establish a rapport that would allow you to mingle with them more openly. This way, you’ll get to truly learn a lot of things about their culture and tradition and make your trip very meaningful.
Don’t content yourself with the city or urban area.
The city or urban area in any country is always an interesting place to visit since it has the best restaurants, the largest concentration of local population, and many of the most interesting tourist destinations. However, limiting yourself to just these urban areas will also hinder you from getting a 360-degree view of the place’s culture.
With this, you should head out to the suburb and see locals living there. You can wear your sturdy Danner hiking boots, get your backpack, and go on a day hike to see the beautiful countryside and meet the people living close to the mountains. This will both satisfy your sense of adventure and your quest to really learn as much as you could about the place’s culture and way of living.
Don’t hesitate to try out local food.
They say you cannot claim to have fully experienced a foreign land’s culture if you haven’t tasted local food. This is absolutely true since food is a huge part of any country’s identity. Take away a place’s cuisine in the equation and it would be impossible to claim full experience of that locale.
If you have food allergies, you should make prior research to know the specific food that the place you intend to visit is known for. To be safe, you should either ask the person taking your order what ingredients are used in a certain menu or simply bring your medicine for allergies. But, if you can, don’t hesitate to try local cuisine if it won’t compromise your health to have a truly immersive experience.
Huddle down with locals.
When eating at restaurants or walking around, be sure to chat with locals to find out lesser-known details about their culture and traditions. By having such conversations with the residents, you’ll glean a lot of things about their mindset, their history, and the traditions that they observe. These would be vital in your mission to have a deep understanding and appreciation of local culture, which will make your trip more substantial and meaningful.
Hire a local guide.
There are times when travel blogs and websites do not list all the interesting places of cultural significance in tourist destinations. If you don’t want to miss out on a well-kept local secret location, then you should hire a trustworthy guide to guide you around.
Just place a before your destination’s local travel authority and ask for recommendations, specifically for a local guide. This way, you can be sure that your guide won’t compromise your safety and would actually take you to the best places that the area has to offer.
Walk, or take public transport.
Whenever possible, always go for public transport and walk around instead of always using your car (provided you’re on a road trip). Just like the huddle with locals, these two techniques will help you observe and take in as much information about a place’s culture as possible. Observation is a powerful medium of knowing what a place is made of and what its culture looks like, so be sure to do these two simple tricks whenever you can.
With these six ways, you will surely learn and experience to the fullest a destination’s unique and rich culture.