My husband Matt and I just booked a trip to Europe at the end of this month. With only a few weeks to plan, this is a pretty spontaneous move on our part.
First up we’re headed to Paris then spending a few nights in the South of France (Cannes, Monaco & St. Tropez) before ending our european adventure in Lake Como, Italy. If you’ve spent time in ANY of these place, please send suggestions our way.
One thing to note about me is that I am OBSESSED with getting hyperlocal when traveling abroad. My ultimate fear is looking like a tourist. Why? Because being a tourist in the traditional sense is “basic”. I think of a tourist as a person who always stays on the beaten path and never deeply experiences the place they’re visiting.
So, today I am sharing a few key tips to planning a “non-toursity” trip abroad.
How To Live Like A Local On Vacation
Tip 1: Half Planned and Half Unplanned
Part of the fun is getting lost in the magic and stumbling upon little understated spots. When planning a trip, I like to have a handful of dinner spots and activities pre-planned and then leave the rest up to fate. Note: fate NEVER includes a restaurant with pictures on the menu. If you see that, RUN– it’s a total tourist trap.
Tip 2: Instagram Detective
I’m TOTALLY the girl that’s 2 years deep on some chick’s Instagram feed! My most effective trip planning tip is by FAR to stalk the locals. I’ll start with bloggers and influencers who have visited my destination. I’ll zero in on the restaurants/locations they’ve tagged in their photos and scroll through all the photos from that location to find a local who fits my vibe. Next I stalk her feed to she where SHE goes! What is she doing on a Saturday night with her girlfriends? Where does she shop? Where does she have a romantic dinner with her BF? THIS is where I find travel planning gold.
Tip 3: Learn some key words
If you’re able to learn some key words in phrases, like pleasantries, transportation cues and menu items, not only does it make your trip easier but I also find a little bit goes a long way with the locals. If they see you’re trying and rather than expecting that they know English, I find it’s easier to form a connection. They’re TOTALLY more inclined to tell you where THEY go on a Friday night for real. I say “for real” because a lot of hotels, restaurants and shops work together in cahoots to promote one another.
Tip 4: Airbnb
Lately we’ve been foregoing 5 star stays at hotels in favor of Airbnb! First of all the hosts are generally super nice and excellent sources of information for all things local. Second, it feels like a home away from home!
What are you trips for living like a local on Vacation?
PS: My European Travel Guides: