We all want different things from a holiday. The kids want fun days out, parents want a rest and a change, couples want time away together. Whatever you are seeking, it’s a shame to endure hours on a cramped plane if you’re not going to get the opportunity to fully experience the country you are visiting. With so many places geared up for English-speaking travellers, it’s so easy to eat the same foods, talk the same language and watch the same programmes as you would at home. And really, where’s the fun in that? We’ve put together a list of our three favourite ways to truly experience the culture of the country you are holidaying in.
Image Source: Roger Wollstadt
- Stay with The Locals
The last few years have seen an influx of websites, like www.housetrip.com, which put you in touch with locals who rent out their homes to tourists. You can take your pick from entire apartments in the city centre all to yourself or a room in a house with a local. If you’re not travelling with children, we recommend staying with the locals. It gives you a great opportunity to experience local cuisine and try out your language skills. Of course, you always have someone on hand who can suggest the best things to see, places to visit and the easiest way to get there.
For families, staying in a house or apartment gives you the space you need. It also gives you the flexibility to plan your meal times and take the day as it comes. An apartment in a residential area puts you in a great position for exploring the sights. Transport links aren’t likely to be as rammed with tourists all going from the hotel to the attractions, and you can ask neighbours for hints and tips on the best things to see. Just make sure you have a translation book with you, particularly if you’re not on the tourist route. You can’t expect every bus driver, shop owner and waiter to be fluent in English.
Image Source: BMiz
- Take to the Road
Holidaying in a campervan can be a huge amount of fun, especially with the kids. Every day feels like an adventure, and you can go where ever you please, see what you want and have complete freedom to plan your day. Of course, you will need to take a guide book with you – particularly if you’re likely to need to stop to ask for directions! Invest in a good map or SatNav, work out where all the best child-friendly campsites are and make sure you are well versed on the traffic laws of the country you are driving through. Some countries have strict laws about where you can and can’t stay overnight in a campervan.
Image Source: Koshy Koshy
- Help Out
Conservation holidays are one of the best ways to see the country. Admittedly not a great option with kids in tow, conservation activities do give you the opportunity to contribute to the country you are visiting. Researching the trip will also give you insight into the local community you wouldn’t have gotten staying in a resort. Plus the actual trip itself will give you the opportunity to meet locals in a more natural environment. You are also likely to be working alongside people of different nationalities, which means you can pick up great tips on where to go next year.