Use mass transit to travel like a local
During our travels, we want to visit the top attractions, yet we desire to see things not everyone truly knows about. This is called the hunt for the local experience; to soak up the life of a local in a short or limited period of time.
Depending on how long you travel in a city will determine how much of the local flair you can achieve. It's simple to find yourself becoming less of a tourist and more of someone that can be mistaken for a native, especially if you act and look the part. Hint: Leave your “I heart New York” shirts behind.
Eat street food (wisely): Local cuisine is the best way to taste the local flavor, literally. The best way to know if a place is common with locals is to search for places that are flooded with them. When in Rome, dine with the Romans, right? If a place is crowded with locals, it might be a place you might enjoy eating. Street food is especially popular in some regions of the world where it may or may not take a toll on your digestive track. Eat wisely when traveling abroad; finding the local experience doesn't always mean finding the local toilet and pharmacy.
Shop at local markets: If you love shopping at local flea markets or supermarkets at home, imagine how much better it can be during your travels. Discover budget friendly shopping and unique souvenir grabs at local markets for some aboriginal pieces to add to your travel collection. Visit farmer's markets for some fresh deals on fruits and vegetables, so you can be even more of a local and cook in your room! Locals will obviously be swarming in this location so make sure to bring your camera if you want to capture the local experience on film.
Learn a few words of the language: You don't exactly have to be a master of linguistics to travel abroad or to speak with locals. Whether you are traveling in an English friendly country like The Netherlands, or in China where English may be scarce, it is simple enough to learn a few courteous words. Locals may giggle at your pronunciation of some words if it is difficult, but they will absolutely appreciate the effort you make going beyond the travel guide books to speak with locals .If you find yourself loving the city you're traveling in enough, practice language learning with locals to understand dialects and slang phrases that won't be taught in language books.
Take local transportation: Get ready to truly be lost not only as a tourist, but just like a local. Some locals in New York City still get confused by the tongue twisting Metro line system. It can be expensive to take taxi's all the time, and extremely tiring to walk to places, so you might end up taking local transportation. Familiarize yourself with metro passes that could save you money and invest in a proper map to ensure you won't get lost too much. Pretty soon, you'll be memorizing subway stops and giving others directions!
Meet actual locals: Once you've accomplished all of the above, what better way to show off your local flair than to actually mingle with locals. You may have encountered them in your hotel/hostel, at an event or somewhere along your travels, but now it is time to make connections abroad. Meeting locals is a great way to end up returning to a city, or to dig a little deeper about why they enjoy a city from an interesting perspective. Locals will always know the best and worst places to go so use this resource wisely during a trip. A great way to interact with locals before a trip is also through social media sites like Twitter, MeetUp and Couch Surfing. This is a modern way to break the ice before traveling abroad.