Explore A New Destination Like A Local: 6 Tips To Help You

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Charles Shima

Chief Storyteller

To explore a new destination is not just about ticking off landmarks from a checklist; it’s about immersing yourself in the local culture and embracing the lifestyle of the place you’re visiting. In this blog, we’ll explore how to travel like a local, with a special focus on cities in Africa. Follow these steps to enhance your travel experience and connect with the heart of a new city.

explore a new destination

Research Before You Go

Start your journey by delving into the rich history, traditions, and customs of the city you plan to visit. Learn about local festivals, events, and the best neighborhoods to explore. Resources like travel blogs, documentaries, and local guidebooks can provide valuable insights.

Example: If you’re heading to Marrakech, Morocco, research the vibrant souks, the significance of traditional Riads, and the best times to experience the lively Jemaa el-Fnaa square.

Connect with Locals Online

Social media platforms and travel forums are excellent tools to connect with locals and fellow travelers. Seek advice, ask for recommendations, and join local groups to gain insights from those who know the city intimately.

Example: Join a Facebook group dedicated to Nairobi, Kenya, to get recommendations for authentic local cuisine, hidden gems, and upcoming events.

Stay In Local Areas

Opt for boutique hotels, guesthouses, or Airbnb accommodations in residential neighborhoods rather than popular tourist areas. This choice allows you to live amidst the locals and experience daily life firsthand.

Example: Choose a guesthouse in the Bo-Kaap neighborhood when visiting Cape Town, South Africa, for an authentic and colorful local experience.

Use Public Transporation

Embrace the local transportation system, whether it’s buses, trains, or tuk-tuks. This not only saves money but also provides an opportunity to observe daily life and interact with locals during your commute.

Example: In Lagos, Nigeria, hop on a yellow danfo bus for a lively and authentic experience of the city’s vibrant street life.

Eat Where the Locals Eat

 Step away from tourist hotspots and explore local markets and eateries. Street food stalls and family-owned restaurants often serve the most authentic and delicious meals. Don’t be afraid to try new dishes and ask for recommendations.

Example: In Accra, Ghana, savor the flavors of jollof rice and waakye at local food joints like Bazaar Restaurant in the vibrant Osu district.

Attend Local Events and Festivals

Attend Local Events and Festivals: Plan your trip around local events or festivals to witness the city’s culture in full swing. Whether it’s a traditional music festival, a cultural parade, or a local market day, participating in these events offers a genuine glimpse into the community spirit.

Example: If you’re in Dakar, Senegal, during the Gorée Festival, immerse yourself in the celebration of Senegalese culture, music, and dance.

By following these steps, you’ll not only see the sights but also experience the soul of a city in Africa and around the world.

Travelling like a local allows you to forge meaningful connections, appreciate the diversity, and create lasting memories. So, the next time you embark on a journey, remember to wander off the beaten path and embrace the local way of life.

Safe travels!

  • 1. What does it mean to travel like a local?

    “Traveling like a local” could mean eating where many local people eat, using a local tour guide, or booking accommodation that's owned by local people.