There’s an increasingly popular philosophy amongst travellers: Wherever you go, the tourist trail can feel much the same. All over the developed world, tourist experiences are repeated again and again and again, and in spite of whichever stark aesthetic and cultural differences may exist between two cities, you’ll usually find that the package holiday itineraries for both are remarkably similar. Some of us find this incredibly uninspiring.
Without further ado, here are a few off-the-beaten-track ideas for holiday activities that skip jauntily off the tourist trail and into the real life of a destination:
Check out the live music
If you want to catch a glimpse of a population’s soul, you could do far worse than experience how local musicians express themselves through song. If you’re travelling in South America, seek out the remote festivals where locals sing ancient songs; if you’re in a big European city, visit open mic nights to hear an array of local talent (probably both good and bad); and if you play yourself, get involved in a jam session. A little research online before your trip will help you find your way to the musical heartbeat of your chosen destination.
Experience the local nightlife
There’s something deeply tragic about tourists visiting night clubs and bars designed for tourists (we’re getting mental images of Irishmen brawling in the streets of Prague, Guinness in hand). If you fancy a night out wherever you’re staying, be sure to visit local establishments (preferably ones which are known to be ‘safe’). If you’re in Budapest, visit a ruin pub, or if you’re in the American mid-west, play some bingo with the locals – if you’ve never played the game before check out theonline comparisons listed at bingo.com to get a feel for the rules.
Eat the independent street food
It seems insane that many tourists continue to eat at familiar, branded restaurants when visiting overseas destinations – why even travel!? To get a flavour for the true cuisine of your destination, try the street food served at roadside stalls whenever you can. This can be hit-and-miss in some countries where hygiene issues persist, but throughout much of the world this is the best way to get a taste of the locality.
Meeting locals can be a daunting thought to some travellers, but there really can be no greater travel experience than befriending a local. Not only do you stand to make a friend, but you could also be shown the very best of the area by a true expert!