Traveling these days has never been so easy and exciting. You get to travel without paying for expensive hotels. You get to meet other travelers and have a network of good friends from all over the globe, even if you’re traveling on your own. And cultural exchange has never been so cheap and accessible, just right at your fingertips. All thanks to the gift of technology and innovation. And the perks of meet up with locals.
Travelers, contrary to tourists, seek cultural immersion and enjoy detours and exploration that the latter would otherwise consider as a waste of time. They’re more passionate about what it’s like to live in a certain place, understanding how the climate, history, and the disctinct culture affect the people’s current way of living and behavioral patterns. That’s how I’d like to put it, well at least from my perspective.
As a self-declared traveler, my favorite hobby when traveling is meeting up with the locals. Why bother doing that, you ask? Well, the following are just some boring reasons, but not to me.
FREE CULTURAL EXCHANGE
This is truly an amazing experience. Allowing yourself to learn others’ culture broadens your perspective in life. I’m a person who values continuous learning and I believe exposing yourself outside your own set of beliefs, traditions and culture will definitely add value or even challenge your own box of thoughts. It will give you that stretch you badly need, without you knowing it.
It’s interesting to note that most of the locals offer to tour you around when you get acquainted with them. Such a money-saver. But more importantly, they know the best places in town not known to tourists. So you actually get to do a legit exploration of the city.
Since locals know the city so well, they definitely know where are the best places to eat. And normally, these are the cheap restaurants which serve really delicious, authentic dishes. Another money-saver.
LANGUAGE EXCHANGE BUDDY
If you happen to study their language, you’ll have your language buddy as well. Having real conversations with a local will totally help you learn the language faster. Even when your trip has ended, you can still continue practicing with your local friend via online messaging apps.
SOLO TRAVEL BUDDY
Sounds ironic, I know. Well, when you get bored of exploring the city all by yourself, you can count on them to accompany you. May it be hanging out with them in the local bars, famous cafes or just simply strolling around the area. Also, if you have quick questions about the place or tourist attractions, you can easily pop them a message and you’ll get real answers fast.