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10 Ways to Live Like a Local While on Vacation

10 Ways to Live Like a Local While on Vacation

Many people are satisfied merely seeing the tourist hot spots of a new city, but what about those of you who want to truly experience what it is like to live in a new area? In order to do this, you will need to carefully plan everything from your lodging choice to how you spend your spare time. After all, Parisians don’t tend to hang out at the Eiffel Tower, and Londoners don’t base their afternoon around the London Eye.

Although there is nothing wrong with exploring these popular tourist spots, you can learn so much more about the color and flavor of a city by vacationing like a local. Keep in mind that there are also numerous mental health benefits associated with going on vacation, and you can relax more effectively if you aren’t spending several hours in line at a tourist attraction.

1. Use Public Transportation

Studies have shown that most Americans prefer to drive over utilizing alternative forms of transportation, but this is likely to increase your stress levels. Instead, take a tip from the European approach and rely on public transportation whenever possible. Not only will this relieve the stress of trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B, but it will also enable you to experience different countries or major U.S. cities from the point of view of most locals.

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2. Read the Local Paper Daily

There is perhaps no easier way to get to know a new area over a cup of coffee than by reading the local paper. You will find out about special events, news stories that are currently affecting residents and much more. In London, it is easy to find people who hand out free papers near many tube stations, which enables visitors to combine the paper with using public transportation.

3. Rent a Flat or Home Instead of a Hotel Room

Hotel rooms are difficult to fully relax in, and they are also typically located near major tourist attractions. In other words, if you choose this lodging option, you may never get a true feel for the city in question. A viable alternative is to book a vacation rental. Airbnb is a popular option for major cities, and there are also companies such as Carolina Designs Realty that specialize in oceanfront rentals.

The best part is that renting a home or flat in the desired area is often comparable to, or even cheaper, than a hotel room, and you get numerous added perks, including a kitchen.

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4. Shop at the Nearest Grocery Store

As previously mentioned, a vacation rental will provide you with a functional kitchen. You can save money and try local vegetables and other favorites by shopping at the nearest grocery store. This also offers a good way to immerse yourself in local living. After all, everyone goes grocery shopping, so you can experience a lot of the local culture by partaking in this common activity.

5. Learn the Language and Converse with Locals

There are several ways to learn a new language well enough to actually converse in it with locals. For example, listening to podcasts will really help, as will reading and writing in the language in question. Your command of any language will improve much more quickly by living among native speakers, so conversing with the locals will not only teach you about the area but will also boost your skills.

6. Ask Locals for Restaurant and Café Suggestions

Travel books and websites may offer some good café and restaurant suggestions, but many of them are geared more toward tourists. To see how the locals dine, you will need to ask some of them for recommendations. Again, this will most likely take you outside of the typical tourist area.

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It is also highly possible that you will end up learning about some places that may be lovingly referred to as a dive. Always remember that if you judge a restaurant purely on its aesthetics or location, you might miss out on one of the best meals of your life.

7. Walk through the Neighborhoods

Walking through downtown will show you many appealing aspects of a city, but it won’t usually showcase how the locals truly live. Therefore, you will need to walk through some of the neighborhoods if you want to learn more about what it is actually like to live somewhere new. As an added bonus, you are likely to find some unexpected beauty in an unassuming place. For example, some of Banksy’s work is found in or near London neighborhoods that are not near a tourist trap.

8. Have a Picnic in the Park

One of the things that truly makes each city unique is the way that greenspace is incorporated into the overall design. Locals usually go to a park to relax or exercise, which makes this another prime opportunity to observe a different culture. Additionally, having a picnic in the park is a good way to utilize local food and physically connect more to the area.

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9. Spend an Afternoon Volunteering with a Local Group

Some people base their entire vacation around volunteering, but you can help others while also taking time to relax by donating one afternoon of your time. There are always local groups that need assistance, and most areas have a dedicated online resource that helps connect them with potential volunteers.

Something simple that does not require training will be the best route to explore. If you are vacationing in America, this could take the form of spending a few hours sorting food donations for Feeding America. If you’d rather spend time outside, you can ask the parks and recreation department about cleaning up debris at a nearby park. Either way, your fellow volunteers are likely to be locals who can give you a lot of insight into the area.

10. Visit Smaller Nearby Cities

It is easy to get wrapped up in the allure of visiting a major city. But did you know that it is often easier to connect with locals by going somewhere smaller? There are five affordable cities outside of Paris that fit this bill, and it is easy to find this same type of setup almost anywhere in the world. Even if you only go to a small city for a daytrip, you will still have the opportunity to observe local culture in a more intimate and accessible setting.

Vacations to faraway cities allow us to expand our minds and develop a more global conscience. When you combine this with perks such as increased productivity and better health, it makes sense to ensure that you book at least one trip per year. Your experience can also be vastly improved by taking a more localized approach.

Featured photo credit: Vittorio via pixabay.com

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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