We try to have as “local” an experience as possible on our travels.  From the food to the neighborhood to interactions with people, here are some great resources for fellow travelers looking for an authentic local experience.

Where to stay

By now, most travelers are aware of AirbnB and Couchsurfing as alternatives to hotels. I use AirbnB to pick a central but still neighborhood-y location when choosing accommodations. In addition to experiencing what someone’s home is really like in a particular destination, the immediate area is also more likely to have establishments geared towards locals.

What to do

Sure, you can wander around on well-trodden or off-the-beaten-path spots all on your own. But, isn’t it more fun to do so with a new buddy who knows the ins and outs? Free (yes, free) personalized tours by locals are available in a number of worldwide locations. Although I’m not a tour person by nature, this is actually an “untour” kind of tour. You let your local volunteer know what you are interested in and they basically tailor everything to you.

Where to eat

How was the food? That’s one of the first questions I get when returning from a destination. Make sure it’s always good (and so is the company) by participating in a meal sharing experience. We’ve done this a few times and found it the highlight of our trip. Hosts are also a great way to get insider info on a particular culture or area. Bonus: some offer cooking lessons.

Where’s the party?

Just ask party with a local – a free app that connects travelers and locals looking for a good time. Whether you’re after grabbing a drink, hitting a club or just want the scoop on some after dark spots, like-minded party-animals are available to show you a good time.

Mind your manners

While you’re rubbing elbows with all these friendly locals, it’s important to at least try to avoid etiquette no-no’s. A quick peek at these guides to global customs and etiquette can save you from potentially embarrassing blunders.


Please feel free to share your tips below for ensuring a local experience.


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