How Do You Immerse Yourself in Local Culture While Traveling?

How Do You Immerse Yourself in Local Culture While Traveling?

How Do You Immerse Yourself in Local Culture While Traveling?

To help you enrich your travel experiences through cultural immersion, we asked eight travel enthusiasts, including a travel blogger and several founders, for their best tips. From experiencing local life through homestays to taking cooking classes for cultural understanding, here are the top eight insights they shared.

  • Experience Local Life Through Homestays
  • Immerse in Culture Through Food and Language
  • Hire a Local Guide
  • Learn Local Language for a Deeper Connection
  • Explore Culture at Weekend Markets
  • Connect with Locals Through Familiar Activities
  • Attend Local Workshops
  • Take Cooking Classes

Experience Local Life Through Homestays

Since I travel long term, I am regularly looking for ways to immerse myself in the local cultures, instead of just staying with tourists. My favorite way to do this is by finding “homestays.” These are a type of accommodation experience where you stay with a local resident in their home.

They can recommend the best places to see during your visit and can provide knowledge and experience you simply wouldn’t get from another tourist. You can find these homestays as paid accommodations, as well as free volunteer placements, and they are so worth it!

Michelle O'DonnellMichelle O’Donnell
Travel Blogger, Brit Adventures Travel Blog

Immerse in Culture Through Food and Language

I typically like to eat the most authentic food when I travel to new places. I enjoy talking to some locals and trying to speak their language, as well as visiting locally recommended attractions. These three things alone help me immerse myself in the beauty of a new and exciting culture. Tourist “traps” can prevent a good number of people from seeing the true heart of a new destination.

Brittany MendezBrittany Mendez
CMO, Florida Panhandle

Hire a Local Guide

Some people believe that hiring a guide amounts to taking the adventure out of traveling. There is nothing more false than this. The ideal person to assist you toward the location of the adventure is a guide!

One of the best ways to quickly learn about the local way of life when visiting a new place is to hire a guide. Hiring a guide is a beautiful option when you only have a little time in one place.

Axel HernborgAxel Hernborg
Founder and CEO, Tripplo

Learn Local Language for Deeper Connection

One interesting way I immerse myself in local culture when traveling is through language learning. On a trip to Spain, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and take up a basic Spanish language course.

By interacting directly with locals in their language, I gained fascinating insights into their culture and daily life. This proactive engagement with language didn’t just break down barriers of communication, but also fostered a deep sense of connection and understanding beyond typical tourist experiences. This approach has made my travels more profound and culturally rich.

Abid SalahiAbid Salahi
Co-Founder and CEO, FinlyWealth

Explore Culture at Weekend Markets

Attend the weekend markets. My partner and I have been slow-traveling around Europe for the past year, and we always make a point to hit up the markets in the city over the weekend. I love to see what locals are shopping for on their weekend and how they interact with the vendors.

Oftentimes, the vendors will even let you sample some of their goods so that you can try out a variety of local cuisine without having to purchase an entire meal!

Kristine ThorndykeKristine Thorndyke
Founder, Test Prep Nerds

Connect with Locals Through Familiar Activities

Engage in an everyday activity that you would do at home. This approach helps you observe how these activities are done differently in other countries, and it’s easier to strike up conversations with locals because you are in a familiar environment.

For me, that could be bouldering. It’s something I do every week at home, so I find the local bouldering center in a new city. It’s an easier place to initiate conversations with locals, as I am familiar with bouldering and can discuss it. From there, the conversation can expand to things they would recommend you do in their country.

Anders ThornildAnders Thornild
Head of Marketing, CyberPilot

Attend Local Workshops

One indispensable practice I’ve adopted while traveling is attending local workshops or classes, whether it’s cooking, dance, or traditional crafts. On a trip to Bali, I joined a traditional Batik painting workshop. Not only did I learn the intricate art, but I also connected with locals, heard their stories, and understood the cultural significance behind the craft.

This experience deepened my appreciation for the destination. Engaging in such hands-on activities provides a genuine connection to a place’s soul, far beyond what regular sightseeing can offer. It’s an enriching dive into the heart of local culture.

Richard FrankelRichard Frankel
Disability Lawyer, Bross & Frankel, PA

Take Cooking Classes

Taking part in cooking classes while traveling is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in a local culture. Oftentimes, these cooking classes are taught by a local who will explain to you the significance and history behind specific dishes and ingredients.

This knowledge can inform the rest of the food that you eat on your trip, as well! Food is also a great way to bring people together—it is a vehicle for discussion and new points of connection with local folks.

Adam ShlomiAdam Shlomi
Founder, SoFlo Tutors

Submit Your Answer

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