1. Make friends with people who live there before you even reach your destination
Do a little research before your big adventure. Ask friends if they have friends in the area you're visiting, or go online and join a Facebook group of that area. By getting tips from people who actually live and work in the holiday destination you're going to, you're sure to get the best non-touristy travel advice (and maybe even an awesome new friend to help bring you around!)
2. Travel off-season so there aren't that many tourists
Not only will your flights and accommodation be cheaper, you'll get to enjoy your holiday with fewer visitors and less crowds. It'll immediately make you feel like less of a tourist and more of a local too!
3. Find out where the locals eat and go there
Local dishes can seem intimidating but it's the fastest (and often yummiest) way to understand a culture. Ask locals for their favourite restaurants, market stalls, and dishes, then go ahead and check them out. Chances are they'll not only be cheaper than the tourist hotspots, they'll be super authentic and delicious too!
4. Skip the tour bus and use local public transport
Take a look at how the locals travel and try it out yourself. Some countries have a strong bicycle culture, others prefer scooters and motorbikes, maybe they have a super efficient underground subway, trains, trams, and bus routes, or just get around on foot. Travelling like a local also keeps you from having to deal with 'guides' trying to scam you.
5. Learn a few key phrases in the local language and use them
'Hello', 'please', 'thank you', and 'goodbye' are probably the easiest and most commonly used phrases in any language so take the time to learn them in the local language. It doesn't matter if your accent is a little off, it's definitely a gesture of goodwill, and the local people will appreciate the effort!
6. Shop at the nearest grocery store or fresh market
Grocery stores are a great place to get cheap, authentic snacks that the locals actually eat. Other places likely mark up the prices for tourists and it's unlikely locals would buy them. So go ahead and shop at the nearest grocery store! It's also an easy way to immerse yourself in local living and getting fresh local fruits, veggies, and other goodies.
7. Add traditional clothes to your everyday wardrobe
You don't have to dress from head to toe in traditional garb, but it's kinda cool to add a few local pieces to your style. It could just be a top, a headpiece, or an accessory. Of course, it depends on where you are and what the locals are wearing on a daily basis. If it's a big city, it's likely most locals are in Western clothes. Nevertheless, fashion is a fun way to be part of local culture.
8. Enjoy a yummy picnic in a public park
Public spaces such as parks are a fantastic way to observe culture and enjoy your travels, as locals are bound to hang out there. Whether it's to relax, play, or exercise, parks and green open spaces are always welcoming places, separate from the normal tourist attractions. On top of that, having your own picnic allows you to try out local food and physically connect more to the area.
9. Take a walk through the neighborhoods
A stroll downtown will reveal the super pretty parts of a city, but won't necessarily showcase what local life is really like. Head to the nearby neighbourhoods to enjoy the architecture, culture, people, and more. You may even come upon an awesome local cafe, restaurant, or boutique that's not in any of those guide books!
10. Visit the smaller cities nearby
Getting out of the big city gives you distance from the regular tourist traps. To really travel like a local, go to the smaller cities on the outskirts. Whether for a couple hours, a daytrip, or longer, you'll get the opportunity to observe local culture in a more intimate and accessible setting.
There's something special about exploring a new place, not as a tourist but as a traveller!
Discover hidden gems and live like a local on your next holiday with Sunway Hotels & Resorts
If you're looking for a staycation in the city, check out these beautiful hotels that are perfectly located in Kuala Lumpur:
- Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa | Sunway Pyramid Hotel | Sunway Clio Hotel - Seamlessly connected to Sunway Pyramid Mall and just a few steps away from Sunway Lagoon Themepark, choose between these three 4-star and 5-star hotels for the holiday of a lifetime!
- Sunway Putra Hotel - Situated opposite Putra World Trade Centre, this is the perfect spot if you're heading to PWTC for a convention, event, concert, and so forth. On top of that, the hotel is directly linked to Sunway Putra Mall, making it super convenient to get the best food and entertainment.
- Sunway Velocity Hotel - Relax in this hotel, directly connected to Sunway Velocity Mall, with an express cafe, infinity pool, and more.
Spend your days food hunting and your nights chilling in these magical hotels in Penang:
- Sunway Hotel Georgetown - Located in the heart of Georgetown, there's no better hotel to stay in if you're looking to explore the vibrant city life and heritage charms.
- Sunway Hotel Seberang Jaya - Strategically located in the centre of Seberang Jaya, you get easy access to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, eco-nature spots, and commercial zones in Penang.
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of life and relax in Ipoh:
- The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat - Indulge in Malaysia’s first luxury natural hot springs wellness retreat offering bespoke holistic experiences.
Get off the beaten track and discover Cambodia like never before:
- Sunway Hotel Phnom Penh - Located at the heart of Phnom Penh, enjoy historic landmarks, magnificent boulevards, local attractions, handicraft markets, and the riverfront.
Visit Vietnam for the food, culture, and people:
- Sunway Hotel Hanoi - This hotel is French chic and located on the fringe of Hanoi's famed French quarter. It's the perfect place to explore historical landmarks and major commercial buildings.
Book your next holiday with Sunway Hotels & Resorts directly from their website to save on your accommodation AND enjoy exclusive benefits!
Check out more #travel stories: