Traveling Like a Local 101

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When traveling, you want to get around as smoothly as possible right? Maybe avoid the sketchy back roads and creepy drivers? Or maybe you’re concerned about locals not taking advantage of you and taking all of your money when you’re only going 5 minutes up the street. Well, I have had a few different experiences while traveling and I’ve gotten pretty good at the whole “travel like a local” gig. So, let me give you a few tips on affordable travel that will help you stick out like a sore thumb, and even save you a few bucks along the way.

Tip 1. Find out what different types of means of travel the location has. Number in order of most used by locals.

What do I mean by this? No, don’t go writing a list out literally, but know what modes of travel the location has (motor bike, taxi, subway, train, car). Then, do some digging or people watching; read up on blogs for what other travelers have used – TripAdvisor is a good start. Once you know what everyone usually takes you now know what is going to be the cheapest, fastest, or easiest for you to navigate.

Tip 2. What apps make it easier to get around without having to ask people who don’t speak my language for directions?

Yes, it can become very frustrating and discouraging asking someone who speaks only French for directions when you don’t understand each other. Rome2Rio, Google Maps and TripAdvisor are websites/apps I use. How do I do it? I type in my desired location and navigate from my “current location”.

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Rome2Rio is the best app for travel solely because it offers you 1-5 different travel options from the cheapest to the most expensive and the fastest means by the longest means of travel. That’s not the best part, Rome2Rio also will tell you the name, location, and price of each means of transport; if it says “walk two block, catch bus and get off at River Rd, take taxi to Park St., walk two block and destination is on your right”, then if you click on each icon, it will tell you the street names to turn on, the bus name and cost, the length of bus ride, a link to the taxi service to schedule a pick up as well as a cost estimate. It’s amazing, no more asking for directions – you already know how to get there, just get going and if you’re confused, open up the app to get back on track.

Tip 3. But the pricing is still too high! – Haggling taxi/tuk tuk/motorbike/ donkey “drivers”

You would be surprised how much money you could save by just a little friendly haggling. Nine times out of ten, drivers are well aware of you being a tourist (immean, beach hat, “I Love Hong Kong” t-shirt and camera around neck with map in hand) we scream “tourist”. So don’t be afraid or embarrassed. If you want to be taken seriously and get better at this nomadic lifestyle, then you need to practice and take advantage of this practice phase while you’re in the countries where it is normal ad easy to haggle. What countries?
-    Thailand
-    Czechoslovakia
-    Central America
-    Mexico
-    City Vendors in various tourist spots
-    Farmers Markets
-    Athens
-    Santorini
-    Rome
-    Lisbon

Tip 4. How to not “scream tourist”

I get it, we are all excited to finally visit New York City, but do we need to realllly wear that t-shirt every day? Does our bag have to read “I <3 NYC”? No. Keep an eye out for my tips on how to dress in each country depending on when you’re going.

And there you have it, looks like you’re all ready for travelin’ like a local. Enjoy!

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