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Living La Vida Local

What do humans fear most? The unknown. Most of us feel more comfortable at home than anywhere else. But home doesn’t have to be limited to the place we grew up in. It can be a place you lived in for a year. A place you spent a month backpacking around. Or even a weekend getaway that was more than you expected.

To help you feel more familiar with your surroundings and less like a detached tourist, here are a few ways to live like a local:

1. Homestay

What better way to live like a local than with locals? It’ll integrate you into a local family where you share meals and go on outings together. A homestay can give you a second family and teach you how people of that country live on a day-to-day basis.

2. Airbnb

Cheaper than a hotel and a personal favorite, you can rent a room or an entire apartment from a local. If you just rent out the room and the host stays, they can give you insider tips on things to do and see, and sometimes they even take you out. If you end up alone, you can take full advantage of the kitchen and not have to be on a tight check-in/check-out schedule as in a hotel.

3. Couchsurfing

A free couch and good company. What more can you ask for? Again, the couch owner will usually take you out or give you insider tips. They also host weekly events in the area so you can meet with other locals and couch surfers and have the ‘360 experience’. Highly recommended for backpackers.

4. ‘Like a Local’ mobile app

If you’re too shy to reach out to other people or would rather explore on your own, you can download the mobile app “Like a Local.” The selection is still limited, but works really well for Eastern European cities. Actual, hand-picked locals contribute to the content, and it’s a great way to go where the locals go and avoid the over-expensive, over-crowded tourist traps.

5. ‘Spotted by Locals’ mobile app

Another mobile app (and another personal favorite!), with up-to-date city guides for 55 cities worldwide. They also have a blog that goes deeper into certain destinations, and the app sometimes shows special offers and things happening in the area.

The good thing about going where locals go is that prices are cheaper and the crowds are smaller (and less touristy). You’ll also immerse yourself in the culture, and when you come back home, you can impress your friends and family with insider tips not found in any travel guides.

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