Ways to Act Like a Local

by Female Abroad

When you consider the language barrier, the new cuisine, local dress, and the general cultural differences, travelling to another nation can be a little overwhelming but don't be embarrassed to try to be a local! Before your vacation, doing a little research about local customs will help you feel more at ease. Take a shot at it! You won't be sorry.

Learn Helpful Phrases

Make sure to learn a few useful words and phrases in the language of the nation you are visiting. The usual hellos, goodbyes, pleases, and thank yous plus "How much is this/that?" and "Where is..." can really help. The majority of people will understand from your accent that you are not a native or local speaker of that language and may try to help understand you. However, the fact that you tried to speak with them in their native tongue will be seen as a kind gesture by them (in most countries). It can even work well as an icebreaker when ordering food or drinks, meeting new people, and trying to shop but by all means, try your best and definitely don't be scared to!

Dress Appropriately

In most circumstances, although not always, you will be considered as a tourist if you dress like one. Get rid of the fanny packs, cargo shorts, Crocs, flip-flops, and running shoes and replace them with a pair of khakis, a pair of adaptable walking shoes, and a messenger bag that can double as a day bag when in Europe. For example, even though it might get quite hot, people often don't wear shorts in Italy. Depending on where you are going you may need to cover your head and shoulders, not wear camo or army green, and even more so do a bit of research to find out what you should be wearing before heading out.

Eat Like a Local

Don't be an ordinary tourist; be brave. Trying food from different cultures might be a little bit of a culture shock because every country has some specialties that you might not be particularly familiar with or that you may have never even known were edible. Asking the waiter or waitress for recommendations is a fantastic idea but don't be afraid to inquire about the strange things on the menu because they might truly be worth trying them. Escargot (snails) are actually fantastic when cooked properly and chewy when they are not. Water bugs are crunchy if you remove certain parts and I would never have known without giving it a go. However everyone has a line that they will not cross and do not feel back about it, for example I when I was in Vietnam, I could not get my head around the local delicacy balut as I could not get over the idea of crunching into a bird fetus. You could always start by grabbing a local breakfast like pastries in most Europe, eating sausage in Germany, or drinking a variety of local beers, wines, or spirits.