There are quite a few benefits attached to trying to act like a local in a strange city rather than behaving like a tourist.
For one thing, the people who call the city their home will often appreciate your efforts to engage in the local culture, and there is also the fact that you can get a much better feel of a place if you decide to avoid some of the usual tourist traps.
Here are some pointers on how to go local, such as how to prepare for your visit beforehand, ways to get the inside track from locals, a good method of getting around the city, plus an obvious but necessary tip that always helps improve your experience.
Get your bearings
If you stay in a hotel in a fairly central location like the Marriott Phoenix Renaissance, for instance, you will be in a good position to start exploring and getting to know the area with relative ease, but you can also do some useful groundwork before you arrive.
It’s often a good idea to familiarize yourself with a location by using a resource like Google Maps, using the Street View feature to give you a virtual tour before you arrive and have an idea of what looks worth checking out.
Getting your bearings in preparation for your trip will help you to feel more at home and like a local than grabbing a tourist map at the hotel and wandering off into the streets.
Tap into local knowledge
It really doesn’t take long to make use of technology in order to discover the eating and drinking places favored by the locals.
A small amount of research should quickly reveal a few well-chosen local apps that point you toward accurate and reliable data that you can use to your advantage, such as how the transportation system works and when to expect a bus or train to arrive.
You can also get some useful feedback from locals on the sort of eateries that are favored by them, which could also help you to keep away from some over-priced restaurants that cater more for tourists than locals.
You might be a tourist in the city but if you hire a bike to get around you will be replicating the preferred mode of transport for many locals.
The added bonus for hiring a bicycle to get around is that it is an economical way of seeing the sights and you will often get a much better view and feel of the place on two wheels than is possible if you are sat in the back of a taxi.
The other obvious suggestion which is always worth heeding is to dress like a local rather than a tourist.
Blending in is preferable in terms of the treatment you get from the locals and it reduces your risk of being targeted by scammers and thieves if you don’t scream tourist with the way you are dressed.
If you follow some of these ideas it should help you to feel more at home in an unfamiliar city and could enhance your enjoyment and experience of the time spent there.