Travellers are a mixed bunch. For every person that enjoys a heart-pounding holiday full of extreme sports, there's another person who will spend their days laid on a sun lounger. People who spend time researching their destination have counterparts who simply grab a backpack and see where the wind takes them.
Despite these differences, there's one thing that all of these groups can benefit from – travelling in the most authentic manner possible. Enjoying your chosen destination in the same way as a local might is a thing everyone should experience, and isn't as disorienting as you might initially think.
While hotels and resorts are an easy way to enjoy a holiday, renting some accommodation of your own will give you a far greater sense of authenticity and ownership. There's now a variety of websites and apps that allow anyone to rent short-term in a host of countries, and many are far cheaper than regular hotel deals and packages.
Forget ex-pat bars and restaurants and ignore the worldwide franchises. You're abroad, so why not sample the local and national cuisines? Head down the back streets and quiet alleys and, when walking past restaurants, see how many locals are dining there. If it's popular locally, it's probably of a high standard. Review apps are also a useful resource, and if you're cooking from your accommodation, find some local recipes on the internet for home-cooked local flavours.
Don't try and pack too much into your holiday. It's completely fine if you want to see all of the sights and experience all of the things that you've read about - things that probably made you visit the destination in the first place – but don't over-do it. If you try and fit too much in to your itinerary, you'll miss out on the little things surrounding you, plus you might simply stress yourself out.
Instead, take a strolling approach to your exploration. Walking down that sleepy alley, you might find an amazing shop or gallery, or during your wandering you might end up seeing an outdoor busking act that truly makes your day. Chat with the locals, taste weird and wonderful foods, and keep your eyes and ears open, ready to embark on your next mini-adventure!
Before you choose where you want to holiday, take a look on the tourism websites of the particular country, city or town, seeing when the local festivals are being held. Festivals exist as little nuggets of long-gone cultures and trends, but also give visitors an insight into the mind-set of the locals. Imagine if a Chinese person visited a May Day celebration in the UK – festivals are culture-made-loud, and give you a fun-filled insight into your host country.
Not sure where to go or what to see? Ask a local what their favourite places are, where the best food is served, and where the most interesting sights can be seen. This way you'll get an unadulterated image of the destination – far better than the guidebooks.
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