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10 Ways to be a Traveller. Not a Tourist

10 Ways to be a Traveller. Not a Tourist

“A traveller sees what he sees, a tourist sees what he has come to see.” 

Old, young, rich, poor; there are so many ways to see more. How we travel and behave in another country or culture says a lot about us. You can get a lot more out of your travels and help offset over-tourism by developing your own unique travelling style. By looking beyond the same old tourist attractions, you can get so much more and make your next trip a life changing experience.  Here are 10 tips to pack with your bags on your next trip.

1. Skip the Tour Book, Read the Local Papers

On top of a country’s natural and historical attractions, its greatest asset are its people and you are effectively going into someone’s home. Understanding the culture, customs, current affairs and even the sustainability issues of a country give you many more insights that combine for an immersive travel experience. 

2. Get up in the morning without a plan

Leave a few days on your itinerary to have nothing planned. Don’t always rush to queue at an attraction. Just strap on your shoes and see what you find. Saunter. Stroll. Wander. Get Lost. If you are really adventurous, ban yourself from accessing Maps.

3. Take public transport. 

Live like a local. You’ll get your bearings pretty quickly, learn a whole new vocabulary and also you’ll be travelling eco-friendly. You might have to get out of your comfort zone a bit, especially in countries where public transport is not so developed. When you have to navigate your own way around, you suddenly get a neighbourhood feel. How do the locals get around? Is it an incidental walking culture? Is biking big? 

4. Try the local food and beverages

If you are looking for a global food chain for lunch, or an Australian theme-pub, with your favourite Aussie beer on tap, you are probably mired in a tourist mindset and not really in traveller territory. Eating locally grown food gives you the closest taste of the region. Support locally brewed beers or grown wines. Just like at home, local is usually fresher, is healthier, has far less food miles and supports a more sustainable planet.

5. Buy your food like the locals 

Not every holiday meal needs to be consumed in a food service operation.  If you bought food for yourself for just one of your meals a day, you would learn so much more about how everyday people live their lives in the destination you have travelled to. Get to know the local markets, corner shops, even small supermarkets and you will get a true version of local diets. If you eat the local diet, you can mitigate food miles for items that have been flown in for the tourist market.

6. Do walking tours

No other mode of transport allows you to truly see the nooks and crannies of a destination. Plus walking guides love to talk so you get to have a proper conversation with a local not just listen to someone through your headsetted audio guide. And bonus-you keep your carbon footprint small with walking tours and enjoy some incidental exercise while you are at it.  

7. Find a green hotel or hostel

More and more hotels around the world are going green, featuring both sustainable building design, recycling facilities or organic food.  Do your research and seek green credentialed accommodation before you leave. 

8. FIFO but land travel after that.

You might not have many alternatives to flying in flying out of your destination’s country or continent, but avoid air travel after that. City hopping via air is adds a whopping carbon footprint to your journey. Plus by using land travel, you’ll get to understand how the locals get around so you’ll have empathy for what the travel or commuting experience is like for them.

9. Drop your expectations about the weather and climate of your destination. 

Roll with it – the weather is affecting the locals as well so think of it as the shared experience of the citizens of the country you are in. Add some perspective to inclement weather - if it rains your whole holiday yet it’s breaking a local drought, be happy for the residents. Take a break and explore something inside. Climate change is making for some pretty interesting weather patterns around the world and you might be subject to the unforeseen on your holiday.  

10. Buy local brands or directly from artisans and local galleries 

It's way more interesting to explore local fashion, art and design trends. Ignore anything that proliferates on every corner of the globe and opt instead for local brands, designers and artists. If you can buy straight from artisans, better yet and get the bonus experience and full story behind whatever you are buying.  

Images: Main Image: Unsplash | Joel Bengs.  Other images: Unsplash | Toa Heftiba 
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