Sometimes when you’re traveling, you need some local know-how. Maybe your car breaks down, and you need the local know-how that will keep you from getting ripped off. Or you need a few groceries, but don’t want to pay tourist prices. Or maybe you just want to get a different type of experience that you usually do when you’re traveling. Maybe you want to experience how people live there.

It’s hard to have local know-how when you’re not local. You don’t know where anything is; you don’t know the local customs; you can’t tell the tourist traps from local hang-outs. There are some ways you can access local know-how, though.

You can begin to acquire local know-how before you begin your trip. Do some research. Buy and read a travel guide. Look at photos and video of the area. Look up maps and try to find major landmarks for the area. Talk to people who have been there. Find out everything you can about the area you are planning to visit.

You’re not likely to gain local know-how on a preplanned, programmed tour. You need to get off of the usual tourist routes and look around on your own. Wander around and check out shops, markets and restaurants. Get a map and drive around and familiarize yourself with the area.

Watch and learn. Observe local people and watch where they shop, which restaurants they frequent, where they go to church or buy groceries. Look for places that have local people in them and you will begin to acquire some local know-how.

Talk to people. Ask local people where the best place is to get groceries. Ask someone where he takes his car to get it worked on. Talk to the person at the coffee shop and ask which local attractions she recommends. Most people are delighted to share their expertise and knowledge with you if they think you are really interested.

The people who live in an area are the source of local know-how. You have to get it from them. You can read a book, walk around, watch people or talk to them, but the only way to get local know-how is from local people. Whether it’s best burger joint, the hotel to avoid, or the quickest way to the airport, local people have the information you need and want. Treat them with kindness and respect and engage them in conversation and they will share their information with you.

By yanam49

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