One of the most common questions I get asked is about how to see the “real” (insert country of choice here). Most people don’t want to spend their holidays in a line of tourists hearing the same accents while eating the same foods as available at home. This is common and more than reasonable. After all, the main reason we travel is to see and experience a different reality than the one we are currently living.

My sister recently returned from a week in Bali with her husband and mentioned that it took them almost the entire week before they started finding the hidden restaurants serving the best food for a cheap price, the best massage parlours that actually changed the towels between clients and the best bars that served the coldest beers. Hearing this made me think about all the ways I collect local knowledge of a new place and how I could have helped them get the most out of their week away.

So, rather than potentially waste the first 5 days of your trip figuring out the best places to go, here are some ways to shortcut and start living like a local sooner –

1) Hire an Adventure Consultant.

Don’t like museums? Interested in food? Want a real adventure or just chill and relax? Adventure Consultants can help you customize a tour to match your own personal interests and help ensure you only see the good stuff at your own pace instead of getting bogged down waiting for the rest of the tour bus to finish according to a set schedule. The other bonus of using this service is that they can tailor a single or multi day tour according to your time frame, budget, etc.

This is one of the many services I offer and have helped numerous people plan an adventure through Australia, Thailand and Costa Rica to name a few. If you want to have a local travel experience without the hours of research then book a free, no obligation call to find out how.

2) Use a specialised service

Use a service like Very Local Trip to get off the tourist trail and experience the city or country like a local. They organise trips to local communities to see how the locals live as well as being involved in community projects so you know all the tour profits are put back into the community.

3) Travel Slow

Some countries lend themselves to this better than others but if your time and budget allow then slow travel is the best way to experience a country like a local. Walking or riding a bike through a country means you are there longer, have to talk to more people, are forced out of tourist areas in order to reach the next destination and therefore are exposed to more of their customs and culture.

4) Talk to taxi drivers and bartenders.

These are the guys who are interacting with a huge number of people every single day and spend time out and about in the city. If they can’t make some suggestions then probably no one can. In my experience they usually offer themselves to show you around when not on shift or have a “cousin” or some other family member who conveniently happens to be a tour guide who for a small fee can facilitate getting you around to see the things you want to see.

5) Check out the local Expat sites on Facebook.

Expats are everywhere! And they often create Facebook pages as a way to keep in touch, sell items and share experiences.

By choosing one or a combination of the above you should be off the tourist trail and experiencing your destination like a local in no time.

Carry On,


I’m Anna Kernohan, an Adventure Consultant. I use my 17 years of travel experience and my background in Paramedics and Safety to provide professional advice and travel companion services to those wanting to travel but not in a tour group or alone. You’ll never have to worry about being alone in a foreign country again.

So if you want to know more about how I can help you have the adventure of your dreams simply use this link to ask me your travel questions or sign up for my newsletter to never miss an exclusive offer.