Traveling is a popular hobby for a good reason — the world has a variety of pleasures to offer, and the best way to experience them is to visit new places. Of course, returning to a favorite destination is a great way to connect more deeply with a location. When you travel, you want to get the most enjoyment out of your often limited time. Here are three tips for getting to know a new place when you visit.
1. Eat Local
So many parts of the world offer amazing cuisine. Traveling allows you to experience authentic foods that are connected to the people and culture of a place. Know what types of food your destination calls its own so that you can seek out great local food. There’s nothing like choosing a daily treat from the bakery display cases in Paris, for example, or sampling all of the street tacos and elotes you can find while visiting Mexico. Some restaurants may also give you an opportunity to chat with local residents who are often happy to tell you what they love about their home.
2. Visit the Neighborhoods
Many cities have central business districts that they’re known for, and certainly, tourists enjoy visiting these. If you have a chance to visit some neighborhoods that are off the beaten path, though, you can experience your destination more like someone who lives there does. Take your children to neighborhood parks, check out small shops and markets outside of the center of town, and take walks through historic areas to appreciate all that a city has to offer.
3. Take a Guided Tour
Find a guide who knows the city you’re visiting really well, and let them show you around. If you have special interests, such as beer, food, or art, try to find a tour guide who offers themed tours. You can often find tours of different neighborhoods if you like to explore an area’s architecture. Tours can happen on foot, by bus, by bike, or even by boat in some areas. A nighttime ghost tour is often a fun way to learn about a location’s interesting historical events.
When you want to really understand the heart of a city and what makes it unique, get off the beaten path and try foods and activities that might be outside your comfort zone. Explore everything the city has to offer that seems interesting to you.