Just as there are many places to visit in the world, there are just as many different ways to travel and experience each place. Some like to travel in full tourist mode in groups and follow tour guides, while others prefer to travel in a more conspicuous manner and get lost in the crowd. No matter your preference, there’s no right or wrong way to explore! The point is simply to experience new places, people and cultures.
When you visit a new place, if you really want to get to know the spirit of the locals, there are things you can do to blend in to get a real sense of what life is like in the place you’re visiting. Doing this lends to a truly unique and special connection with your overall travel experience. That’s why we’re sharing some of our secrets to traveling like a local. Here’s what you can do:
- Skip organized tours – While tours are certainly insightful, exciting, and take you to all of the “hotspots,” you don’t fully get to experience a new place, on the ground, as the locals do. Often, tours come with set itineraries and even include meals and rest stops. Every minute is planned. This means that you’re missing out on the local flavor, from the food, to the people, to the way they sit back and relax.
- Talk to the locals – Take time to step out of your comfort zone. It’s so easy to get trapped in our own safe little bubbles when we go to new places, but that’s exactly why you need to burst that bubble. Don’t be afraid to say hello and have a conversation with a complete stranger. You may just make a new friend.
- Don’t stay in large chain hotels – Hotels often keep you isolated, as they host a high tourist concentration. This means you’re likely only going to bump into other tourists. And, while these interactions aren’t bad, it does take away from the point of experiencing a place like a local and actually meeting locals who can give you the real view. You’ll get more and have a more authentic experience when you stay in smaller places that support that community setting, places like our Kinn Guesthouse. With places like our Guesthouse, you still get all of the same amenities within short distance of everything you could want to access, but you get to experience it all in a quiet residential district inhabited by friendly locals.
- Eat local – Ditch the food chains you’re used to at home. Eat as the locals eat! Milwaukee is known for its creatively delicious food scene, so seek places and things you’ve never tried. Even here at our Kinn Guesthouse, we have a restaurant, Kindred, that features local ingredients and dishes that are beautifully put together by top chefs. Trust us, you won’t want to miss it!
- Don’t be afraid to wander – If you really want to experience a place like the locals, put the itinerary and maps down, and just wander. Don’t be afraid to take a few detours, spend some time in a local coffee shop, or get lost exploring the neighborhoods. You never know what you might find.
Whether you’re coming to see our beautiful town of Bay View and the greater Milwaukee area or have plans to travel the world, there’s nothing quite as special as those moments of understanding and shifting perspectives that bring you closer to who we are as people in a shared world. So, go on, start exploring!