Traveling? Become a Local
Try Something New
Buying local not only helps the local economy, it also helps you immerse yourself in the local culture.
Seeing someone fly all the way to Japan, only to eat at McDonald’s really trips me out. You’re traveling not only to see the sites and sounds, but also to taste, feel and really experience your destination.
Go to the local farmers markets, fish docks, stores and eat what the locals eat. You don’t have to be so daring as to eat balut, but challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Not only will you be happy you did, but you will save a lot of money buying local. Be sure to always travel with Imodium or Pepto Bismol because these types of over-the-counter medication can be very expensive and hard to find, especially when you need it the most!
Ask to meet the chef of a great restaurant or eatery to show you how they prepared the food! Melissa was invited into a kitchen to cook with the chefs at an exclusive hotel because she wanted to meet the chef and thank him for such an amazing meal.
Try to Speak a Few Phrases of the Local Language
It helps to learn a few phrases of the native language. Even if you just know the key phases, like: thank you, you’re welcome, hello, goodbye, good morning, good night, etc. We recommend Lonely Planet books for fast phrases and Rosetta Stone for learning the language more in depth. There are also great translation apps, but be sure you are able to be connected online! Write your hotel hosts a hand written thank you note in their language. Your note may not be perfect, and the translation may make them laugh, but it will go a long way.
Diet and Well Being
Always ask the locals about food and eating conditions if you are allergic or have a medical issue.
The Adventure Travelers parents are amazing world travelers and we have learned from a few of their unfortunate experiences.
When traveling with a medical condition such as diabetes or other illnesses, ensure you pack enough snacks and food for unforeseen events. Melissa’s parents were in Peru and were not aware of a law that prohibits bringing food into the country. My father-in-law is diabetic and his glycemic level dropped, which made for a miserable trip and could have turned serious.
On another trip to India, my father-in-law got dysentery and when he got back to the United States, he was hospitalized for almost a week. Be daring, but know your limits.
Work in a Local Restaurant for a Few Shifts
If you’re staying in a location for a while, you may try to work a few hours at a local restaurant. You can barter your native language skills as a trade for them to allow you to work there. Usually, restaurants give their employees one meal during each shift they work. It’s worth a try. Plus, you may gain new culinary skills and the pictures alone would be worth it!