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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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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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