How to Live Like a Local (Even If You're Only Visiting for a Weekend)

We all want to experience the true heart of the places we travel to. We want to eat like the French in Paris and live the dolce vita in Italy. The problem? So many places to see and so little time. How do you live like the locals do with only 48 hours to spare? Here are my tips on how to feel like a local on your next weekend trip. 

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Visit the coffee shop around the corner. Note that I didn't suggest going to "the best" or "the most instagrammable" spot in town. Those places are all well and good, but they aren't going to give you a glimpse at how the chatty friends or busy moms spend their mornings. 

Use local transportation. It might be harder to figure out than the hop-on-hop-off bus, but riding the rails (or bus) the way the locals do will show you what everyday life is like. Your wallet will thank you too. 

Stay further away from the main attractions. I know you only have two days. I know you're nervous about navigating the metro. Hear me out. Find a picturesque residential neighborhood, preferably one known for walkability, and call it your home for the weekend. I've had great experiences with Airbnb, but have also found great boutique hostels off-the-beaten path on Hostelworld. 

Take a hike (or a walk in the park). Relax in the park. Pack a picnic. Generally get outside. You'll see that the locals probably are doing the same. 

Wander towards a destination rather than using Google Maps. Figure out the general direction that you need to head in and set out. Ask a local if you're "wasting" too much time wandering but try to enjoy the journey. 

Pick up lunch at a farmers' market. Visiting the local market is a great way to feel like you're experiencing the heart of a place. Wander through the stalls, chat with local vendors and taste the land that you're traveling through. 

What do you do to get a feel for the local culture when you're traveling through? 

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