Networking with Locals
It’s All Who You Know
Networking With The Locals
Always, always, always try to connect with some locals before you go to your destination.
There are so many websites out there to find like-minded locals who want to meet you too. Remember our mantra, “It’s all who you know!”
When going on a surf trip abroad, I always use Wannasurf.com to research the spots I’m going to.
On one of my trips to Tahiti, I communicated with fellow surfer online and all he wanted was some tortillas and some Ibuprofen because they are hard to buy and very expensive in Tahiti. I got these supplies for him with no expectations, and once we arrived he styled us out with a kayak, surfboards and access to an amazing reef. The local surf spot with a left wave that rivaled a small Pipeline and there were only a few people in the water. A great way to meet the locals and meet an instant friend.
See what Coupons the Locals Use
When I lived in Maui, I learned fast what coupons worked for me as a local. Parking spots were really hard to find and the prices for parking at the beach were high, due to the popularity with tourists. In the local This Week Maui magazine, there were coupons for free parking which saved me tons of cash.
Always check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Visitor Center and ask for coupons! They are eager to help the local economy and share freely. Also, try these electronic apps and sites:
Having Friends in All the Right Places
I was able to go white water rafting in Stanley, Idaho for a week and I didn’t pay a penny to do it. My friend, Mike is a river guide and his boss was more than happy to help out, since Mike is a great employee and person.
Well, I hate to just take and not give back, so I helped each day pumping up and loading and offloading rafts, making lunch and anything else I could, to help out. I really enjoyed this because I felt like a member of the team and it kept me occupied.
Being the adventurous person I am, I went solo on the “rubber ducky” single person inflatable kayak on most trips. This worked out for the river guides because if anyone fell out of their rafts, I could immediately paddle over to them and act as a lifeguard and pull them to safety. I even received tips from the other river guides because I was a valuable team member to their guests.
Facebook and Social Media Friends
While visiting Alaska and driving down the coast of Oregon, I reached out to Facebook friends and asked if there were any hosts out there who want want a visit from a few vagabonds (us). The outpouring was tremendous. We had free places to stay all the way down the coast and were able to connect with friends and family from the past.
Friends of Friends
About a month before I went to Australia, I was at a party and ended up talking to a friend and told her of my upcoming trip. She mentioned she had a good friend that moved to Cairns, Australia about a year earlier and that I should look her up. She gave me her contact info and, of course, I contacted her the day after I arrived.
I met up with Alecia and her husband Keith and we became fast friends. Since Keith is originally from North Queensland, he knew everywhere and everything to do. We ended up going into the mangroves and collecting our own “tucka” (dinner) of mangrove snails, which we cooked and ate with his marinated crocodile. Without meeting them, I would have never had that type of local experience. They also were my tour guides on other excursions which were all amazing. To thank them at the end of my trip, I offered Alecia my plane ticket to Sydney, since I was backpacking down the East Coast and she even offered to bring my scuba gear with her and meet me in Sydney, so I didn’t have to lug it all over. What a perfect deal.
Now, whenever we plan a trip, we always tell everyone where we are going, to see if we can meet up with joint friends.
Amazing Hikes with a Park Ranger
Park Rangers are an amazing resource! Go to any State or National Park Visitor Center and ask about hikes with a ranger! In Denali National Park, we were so lucky to go on a Discovery Hike with a Ranger. The hike was all day and we hiked with about 10 other people. It was a great way to make friends and enjoy natural beauty as a group.
Also, look for local Free City Greeter Programs for the city you are visiting, such as BigAppleGreeter.
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