7 Tips to travel like a local and avoid tourist traps

Tourist attractions are obviously something you want to visit when planning your travels. You can’t go to Peru without visiting Machu Picchu or Paris without the Eiffel Tower. However, your travel time is as valuable and there’s nothing worse than getting stuck in a tourist trap. Sometimes fighting off crowds or forking out half your spending money to see a sight just isn’t worth the hype, but with these 7 top tips, you may be able to still see the sights just minus the tourists, or get some better ideas on alternatives.

1. Be Wise About the Hour

Research when the best time to go is – and don’t go during those times. Ok, it is probably because you can see a nice sunset/rise or it is cooler/warmer, but if you’re there to see the sight, what does it matter the background or temperature. We prefer fewer crowds and better memories than one good Instagram picture.

2. Plan Your Visit to the Low Season

Similar to the first one, see when is busiest in the city/country you want to go and book outside of those dates. If you are flexible with your travel you are bound to get more authenticity and space in low-season. On Skyscanner, you can select ‘cheapest month’ which is usually out of season to give you a good indication of when to go. You will also be saving more on flights, accommodation and activities during the low season. So it’s win, win all round.

3. Have A Coffee

Take yourself on a wander and pick a cute coffee shop to rest in for a few hours, watch the world go by, interact with locals or just watch their behaviours. This is a great way to familiarise yourself with the culture and give yourself some time to look at your map/use wifi in a quiet area, rather than drawing attention to yourself (and your obvious tourist-like movements). Also, we always find, when sitting alone in a coffee shop conversations naturally occur and you could find yourself a new friend with absolutely no effort.

4. Eat Local

A restaurant that wants business so badly, it practically begs in the street is never a good thing, we all know that. Ignore the guide books and heckling waiters and source out somewhere full of locals, maybe even with a menu in a language you don’t understand and find out for yourself the best spots in town. It might be worth researching before hand the countries local dish and learning the word for it or having a picture to refer to.

5. Give Back

And get involved in community projects. We have thousands of hosts looking for help all over the world. They are the ones with all the knowledge, the travel hacks, hidden gems and insider information. By helping out a local, we are almost certain they will help you right back.

6. Wear Your Walking Shoes

City centres are a notorious hub for travellers. Walking off the grid is a great way to avoid the crowds and explore territory uncharted by tourists. See that road? Take it, see where it leads, and create your own walking tour. Just don’t forget your water bottle and a trusty map.

7. Buy a sim card

They are so cheap now that it makes sense to get one when you arrive in a new country – mainly just to use google maps. Having access to a phone and internet regularly will help you avoid getting and looking lost and give you information on weather and ideas on different routes to take.

things to dosightseeingtourist attractiontourist trapintegrationcultural immersionauthenticlocalexplorealternativetravelleradventurecommunitiesworkaway

About Sarah

Sarah helps with the Workaway blog. She left her secure job and daily routine in the UK 5 years ago to pursue a life of volunteering and travel. Throughout her work as a freelance writer and scuba ins... show more...

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