A trend that pops up on various travel blogs and websites the last couple of years is the one where ‘locals’ play an important role. ‘Do as the locals do’ seems to be the way we like to explore new cities and destinations ‘anno 2016’. And I have to say, I am a fan. And not because of this trend, no. Actually it is the way I travel for as long as I can remember.
When I was a kid, my parents, two sisters and I traveled to France. A lot. Like many other Dutch, it was our holiday destination #1. Although our campsite had a grocery store, a restaurant and bar, my parents tend to take us out to the villages nearby. Strolling the local markets together, buying fresh croissants at the local bakery and having dinner at that little place around the corner, where only the locals go. My father spoke fluently French and was not affraid of a small chat and asking for tips. That is the exact same way I travel today.
I travel to discover hidden gems, listen to personal, local stories and experience a city or destination like I ‘belong there’. There a lot of initiatives that can help you celebrating your holidays like a local. But in my opinion sometimes it is much easier than these organisations make us believe it is. Just stroll the streets, shop at a local grocery store and enjoy some small talk in a local bar. Locals are easy to find: they live there. The only thing you need to do is be open for a conversation, dare to ask for the places to go and wander around. Just like the locals do themselves. And like my parents did, back in the years where Airbnb, WithLocals and EatWith did not even exist.