As the saying goes, “Travelling is part of education”, hence embarking on trips always present opportunities to explore, learn and appreciate other cultures. It can also be an opportunity to make new friends and build lasting relationships while having wholesome fun. This exposure broadens the mind and gives us an understanding of the world around us.
While visiting places, the idea of staying alone and making efforts to do and discover things all by ourselves can be enticing but the essence of interacting with the locals and seeing things through their eyes cannot be overemphasized because it is the best way to make the most of our trips.
Here are some of the ways to deal with the locals while on a trip:
1. Leave the comfort zone and find ways to interact with people.
This can be done by initiating conversations with people. Feel at ease to speak with the driver, a shop keeper or other service givers you meet. Be polite and speak in a friendly manner, ask questions and take mental notes of the feedback you get. Learn the basic phrases in their native language, you do not have to speak the language as perfectly as the natives but the attempt will portray your eagerness to adapt to their way of life and that can be endearing as well.
2. Use the local transport services and shop at the local market instead of the malls.
Shopping at the local market can enhance your knowledge of local produce, help find out the price of souvenirs and expose you to how locals transact business.
3. Try their meals no matter how weird they are and if possible, make plans to prepare a local meal.
To do this, you can ask a volunteer to show you how to make a particular delicacy. This is another great way to build a friendship.
4. Wear a traditional dress or add any item that the locals can relate to.
For example, locally made footwear, bracelets, hat, and necklaces. Also, find out about the origin of the natives’ dressing.
5. Identify and make plans to attend events that you can be part of during the period of your stay.
Have fun while at it.
6. Learn new recreational activities peculiar to the people.
For instance, how to play a local game.
7. Show respect to the people and their core values.
Do not openly despise their practices no matter how they contradict your cultural practices.
8. Capture the moments.
Take pictures of fun experiences and also of the people with whom you have built a friendship with. Take photographs of landmarks too and avoid photographing sacred sites except you ask and have been granted permission to do so.
The list above on how to deal with locals while on a trip is not exhaustive. As you explore you will be exposed to other amazing ways to interact with the people and the most interesting fact is that the culture of the different places you visit may differ but the same rules will be applicable when considering how to deal with the locals. Hence making these basic principles part of your travel lifestyle will not only make your trips worthwhile, but it will also help develop healthy interpersonal relationship skills which can be evident in your day-to-day life.