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Get out of your comfort zone: Here are 5 ways to be a traveller, not a tourist

Travelling is all about stepping out of your comfort zone, trying new things, and making memories. Here’s how to be a traveller and not be counted among ‘tourists’.

travel Updated: Aug 06, 2017 08:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Don’t be afraid to get lost while travelling.(Shutterstock)

Travel changes your life. You probably know that, so you’ve booked tickets to a destination that was on your bucket list. But for travel to really change you as a person, it’s important to be a traveller, and not a tourist. Here’s how you can do that:

1) Stay with locals: Ditch the fancy five-star and live like a native. You can couch surf, book a homestay, or even ask around if anybody in your friend circle knows someone who can host you. Nowadays, with services like Airbnb, it’s all the more easier to find accommodation options. This way, you’ll get a peek into the day to day life of locals, catch the pulse of the town, and discover things you otherwise would have missed out on. You can also pick up phrases and words in a foreign language!

2) Look for lesser known gems: Sure, if you’re in Paris, you’re going to want to see the Eiffel Tower. By all means, do the tourist circuit. But as a traveller, do make the effort to go to offbeat places. These could be tiny cafes tucked away in a town square, or a hole in the wall bar. Even an old cemetery will tell you so much about the history of a place.

Don’t miss out on religious and cultural festivals. ( AFP/Sonny Tembalaka )

3) Attend cultural events: It’s ideal to time your vacation with a festival so you can see how locals of the country celebrate. Participating in their rituals would be an immersive cultural experience that’ll give you a lifetime of memories. If you can’t plan your vacation to coincide with a national holiday, don’t sweat. You can always attend poetry readings, musicals, open mics, and productions by small theatre and dance troupes.

4) Eat regional: Look beyond the usual classics a country is internationally known for. Chances are, there are many more delicacies that don’t make it to Michelin-starred restaurants. Give the restaurants mentioned in your tourist guide a miss and find out where locals eat.

5) Take local transport: Whenever possible, go for trains, metros, buses, trams or even cycling. It’s a great way to explore new places, and it’s also bound to be easy on the pocket. Don’t be afraid to get lost – new experiences are all part of being a traveller.

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First Published: Aug 06, 2017 08:40 IST