One of the things I hear all the time about traveling is that it’s become far too touristic. With flights getting cheaper every day and the world become much safer, people are traveling more than ever. Then there’s the internet, which has opened so many different opportunities for travel, whether it’s staying at a locals house or renting a mansion in France. This can be good and bad. It’s good because more people get to expand their universe and experience another culture, which usually enhances one’s life. The bad thing is that places become too crowded and suddenly lose their appeal. In fact, there are many positives and negatives, far too much to go over in this single article.
Some places are obviously more crowded than others and one of the countries I hear so much about is France. However, when most people say that “France” is too touristic, they’re often talking about Paris, which is only one city in France. At the same time, if you talk to an avid traveler, they’ll likely tell you that even in Paris, if one leaves the touristic area, you can experience the “real Paris” without hordes of tourists. You just need to be willing to explore on your own, to ditch the common path, and to possibly just get lost for half a day.
This is one of the inspirations for me writing this article. I wanted to demonstrate that even in Paris or France in general, it’s possible to explore the country off the beaten path and/or to experience it on the cheap by embracing local traits. In fact, even though technology has brought more tourism, it can also help you live more like a local, such as helping you find a charming apartment to rent instead of a hotel.
Accommodation is often one of the biggest expenses of travelling. It can also be difficult to “live like a local” when staying in a hotel with other tourists. Luckily, there are a plethora of other options for finding cheaper and/or more “local-style” accommodation around the world. You can stay in hostels, which are usually the cheapest option and are a great way for meeting new people. You can stay in apartments, which can also be much cheaper and can allow you to feel more like a local. In fact, you can even couchsurf, which basically mean staying on a local’s couch, free of charge. Learn more about the various accommodation options by clicking here.
Food is another major expense of travelling. Too often, if you’re staying on the common tourist trail, you’ll end up eating in franchise restaurants or overpriced tourist-oriented joints. However, you could do what locals do and go grocery shopping! In France, for example, locals love to buy bread, cheese, and meat. Combined with a cheap bottle of wine, you can eat like a local and save a lot of money at the same time. If preparing your own food is not an option, ask locals where they eat. Typically, locals know of much cheaper and more authentic places that likely aren’t far from where you’d be eating anyways. Another way to save money is to eat locally produced cuisine and drink. For example, wine is cheap in France. Actually, it’s often cheaper than water! In some countries, beer is the cheapest drink you can buy. Learn what types of food are cheap in the country you’re visiting and stick to those. Here are some tips on what to eat in Strasbourg, France.
If you’re travelling around a country, transportation can add up. There are so many ways to travel around, including local flights, trains, buses, and rental cars. If you’re in an expensive country like France, overnight trains are often the least expensive option. Another option is to rideshare, using a site like Bla Bla Car to find locals driving to your destination of choice. You would then simply pay them a small fee and jump in the car with them. What a great way to meet locals and travel cheap! Buses are usually another option and depending on the country you’re visiting, can be as cheap as $1, if booked far in advance. Learn more about how to book transportation around the world by clicking here.
Visit Smaller Cities
In a country like France, there are many incredible cities that will have a far more cultural feel than a massive city like Paris. Consider avoiding the busiest and most popular city and opt for a smaller city with fewer tourists. Big cities and tourist attractions are always more expensive and often lack the local vibe that makes travel such a wonderful experience. Research the country you’re aiming to visit and find out local cities that are often left off the common tourist itinerary.
Simply Get Off The Common Trail
Overall, the cheapest and most authentic form of traveling is taking time to get “off the beaten track”. For example, Paris is a very touristy city, but sometimes, all it takes is leaving the busy area and exploring some of the quiet backstreets. Talk to locals and find out where they go for eating, shopping, and relaxing. This is often where the cheaper and better-tasting restaurants are as well as more authentic shopping opportunities. Drop the guidebook for a moment and embrace the wonders of childhood by exploring the unknown.
There are so many ways to save money and live like a local when traveling around the world. Whether your goal is to save money or to get a sharper taste of the culture, utilize the power of the internet and open yourself up to locals. You’ll be surprised where it might take you.
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If you want to learn more about traveling the world, grab a copy of Limitless Travel on Amazon, or visit our “how-to travel” section here on the blog. In addition, if you want to learn about travel hacking for Americans, or travel hacking for Canadians, you’ve come to the right place.