Although there are few things more enjoyable than heading off to a week or two in the sun, many of us hate to be seen simply as tourists when we visit a foreign country. There should be more to a vacation than simply sitting back on a sun-bed and roasting under a hot sun, and for some people that means trying to assimilate at least a little into overseas life.
If you are one of those tourists who are determined to make a proper effort to soak up the local culture, there are ways that will go down well with the locals. Rather than be regarded as yet more fodder spat out by the incoming airplanes, why not go the extra mile and do as they do? Here are four tips to make you stand out that little bit more.
Speak the language
While I’m not suggesting that you have to become fluent in the local lingo before you travel, it wouldn’t hurt to at least learn a few words in advance of the trip. If you can manage to say please, thank you, hello and goodbye in their language, the residents, restaurant and shop owners and hotel staff will be highly impressed. Not only is it a nice way to say you are different to the rest, it also represents a significant level of respect for your hosts.
Eat like the locals do
In most tourist resorts, you’ll find a wide choice of eating establishments just waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re in the mood for a cosy cafe or a lively restaurant on the sea front, the chances are you’ll find exactly what you need. However, at least once during your stay you should seek out a place that usually just attracts the locals. And while you’re there, be sure to try one of the region’s main specialities.
For anyone who lives in a tourist-friendly region, there’s something heart-warming about being told how beautiful their country is. If you’re staying in an area that offers some spectacular scenery, for instance, don’t be afraid to say so. Tell the locals how fortunate they are to have this beauty on their doorstep all the time, and always compliment them on the friendliness of the people.
Remember the international language
Many people like to chat with tourists about common ground, whether it’s a love of food, perhaps, or maybe an appreciation of sport. In many European countries, the locals will often debate the merits of various soccer teams with tourists. In many ways, football has developed into something of an international language, so if you know your David Beckhams from your Lionel Messis, don’t be afraid to say so.
David Showell lives in the UK and regularly travels abroad. He works for http://www.comparecarhire.co.uk/.