Every TV travel show and guidebook tells you “be a local” when you go on vacation. But, is that really a good idea?
No one wants to be labeled a “tourist” when they travel. Tourists conjure up images of socks with sandals and fanny packs. Tourists are embarrassing. Tourists talk loudly and slowly in English in an effort to be understood. Tourists complain about local food.
To avoid being a stereotypical tourist, more and more people are traveling “like a local.” They want to have an “authentic experience” and get away from the crush of tourists in a spot where the burghers hang.
But, let’s think about it. What’s it like to be a ‘local?”
Locals get up early every morning and go to a job they hate. Locals are worried about their kids’ school. Locals are eating leftovers for dinner in front of the TV. Locals are paying bills
Meanwhile, tourists are sleeping in at their luxurious hotel. Tourists turned on their “out of office” automatic email reply. Tourists left the kids with grandma. Tourists are eating at gourmet restaurants every night. Tourists put everything on the credit card that they won’t worry about paying until they get home.
Locals don’t go to vineyards for wine tastings or to the top of the Eifel Tower. They’re too busy getting crushed on the subway during their commute.
Locals don’t visit a museum and then have a leisurely lunch at a cafe while people watching. They scarf down a sandwich at their desk between depressingly soul-sucking meetings.
Locals don’t take a sunset cruise complete with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. They’re answering after-hours emails and desperately trying to get the kids ready for bed.
So, next time you take a trip, don’t be a local. After all, they’d give anything to trade places with you.
About the Author
Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides to Lisbon, Porto, Sintra, Monsaraz, and Evora in Portugal. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.