Being a tourist isn’t, by definition, a bad thing. A tourist is simply someone who travels for pleasure, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, it has come to have some rather bad connotations. We now picture tourists with cameras glued to their eyes, only visiting the top three landmarks of any given destination, and eating solely at chain restaurants. At Experi, we’re not interested in any of that.
Instead, we want to be travelers and teach others how to access their inner observer. Wander the streets of a new town, eat where there’s a line of locals out the door, find hidden gems, become a part of the place. You’ve already learned how to bond with your fellow travelers, and how to use you time well when traveling, now you can read on to learn our tips for being an authentic traveler.
1. Venture off the beaten path
It’s always exciting to visit historic landmarks and famous streets like the Champs-Élysées in Paris and La Rambla in Barcelona, bubbling over with life, history, and plenty of stores and restaurants. But to be a true traveler, it’s also vital to veer off the main roads and duck down alleyways full of craft shops, family-owned restaurants with the best food, and locals waiting to tell you about their town. We’re not saying avoid historical landmarks. Of course not! What would a trip to Florence be without visiting the Uffizi Gallery and Basilica di Santa Croce? But don’t forget to seek out the lesser known gems, like medieval towns and olive oil mills run by lovely families who would love to tell you about their harvest.
2. Eat what the locals eat
We’re all about food — the best quality food — so we can’t say enough about the power of tasting new cuisines. While traveling, some people may be tempted to seek out something familiar to give them a sense of comfort. At times like these, it’s important to remember why you’re traveling in the first place: to experience something new, broaden your horizons, and bring a piece of the world back home with you. You can experience dishes three times a day while traveling (and probably more than that if you’re a heavy snacker). So go ahead and try ceviche in Peru, black truffles in Provence, and sip on a Kalimotxo in Spain’s Basque Country.
3. Learn some of the language
On all of our trips, we have a seasoned guide and plenty of local experts to help with any and all communication. This means it’s not necessary to learn the language in the country you’re visiting, but it’s certainly fun to do so. Nothing will make you feel more a part of a place than speaking in the local tongue. Just learning a few simple greetings and food words is all you’ll need. Next time you’re in a gelato shop in Italy and deciding on a flavor, try saying “posso gustare,” which means “can I taste?”
4. Put away your map and wander
Choose whichever you want: strolling, wandering, rambling, getting some air, stretching one’s legs. However you want to explore, just do it. Leave the map behind and get a little lost in your new surroundings. This is a great way to stumble across something you would’ve never known about, like a small market, a secluded beach, or a fantastic cheese shop. It’s a great feeling to just let your feet carry you through a city.
5. Meet new people
Part of the reason we love authentic experiences like wine cellar tours with winemakers, cooking workshops with acclaimed chefs, and hikes with local guides is because we love to meet new people. You can strike up a fascinating conversation anywhere, and that’s something we love to do while traveling. Who better to tell you the history of a place or the best recommendation for a restaurant than the locals who’ve lived there for decades?