When you think of a location that you have always wanted to travel to, some of it’s most popular attractions might come to mind. After all, don’t we always want to see what all the hype is about? Of course, it can be a lot of fun to travel to these well-known, tourist-friendly destinations and check out some of their well-known hot spots. However, it can even be more thrilling to find some of those “hidden gem” attractions where all the locals go and call home.
If you want to find the best local hot spots, places to visit, or just get off the beaten path when traveling to a place you have never been to, here are a few suggestions of ways you can do it!
Do Your Research
The internet is a wonderful place full of knowledge. So enlighten yourself and research the place you’re traveling to. This can help you find the best spots that might not be in plain sight or on a popular travel guide.
A really helpful tool to use, along with doing your research online, is Instagram. Instagram is a wonderful media source to find those hidden gem spots. Search for the town you’re traveling to, and then scroll through the pictures with that tagged location. Instagram allows people to tag the exact spot where the picture was taken, which helps travelers to see what it looks like and if they want to go there! You will be surprised with what kind of organic cafes, microbreweries, thrifty boutiques and so many other unique shops show up!
Maybe you know someone, who knows someone where you’re traveling to. If you make a post prior to your trip on social media you might be connected with some cool places.
You can also use social media apps for traveling, that connect you with people who just happen to be traveling to that place too. For example, Skout is an app that connects you with people who are already in that place. This is a great way to find places through other people who want to find great place, or may have already done so.
Take the Road Less Traveled
If you’re feeling super adventurous and want to explore, then forget the map and just wander. You never know what’s waiting for you just around the corner. Maybe you’ll find the best ice cream shop one street over from where you’re staying. Maybe you’ll end up miles away but you found the perfect spot to see the sunset. You never know unless you go.
Wanderlust is never a bad thing, just be safe! If you are traveling with a group of friends, make sure you stick together and experience the joy of the unknown! If you are alone, that’s totally okay. Just make sure you check out some of the more “underground” type of places in the daylight and be mindful of your surroundings. A new location can be exciting and thrilling, but always use caution.
Make Local Friends
The locals in every town know of all the best places to go simply because they live there. Locals know these hidden spots as home. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and make friends. Not only can locals show you amazing places to go, but they can help you learn the language if there’s a barrier, and get more comfortable with culture.
If you are lucky, these locals will know where the best restaurants are, and best markets to shop. Another reason this can be helpful is because shopping with a local or taking their recommendations into consideration can help you feel better about getting a great deal and that you’re not getting taken advantage of because you look like a tourist.
Keep a Journal
I’m sure you have seen this all over the place, but keeping a journal is such a wonderful thing to do, especially when traveling! If you find those local hot spots, the best cafe in town, or simply a place where everyone hangs out, you want to write it down. This way, if you ever visit again, you’ll know where to go.
You can also connect your friends and family to the hidden gems if you know they’re traveling somewhere you’ve already been. It’s always great to look back on experiences you’ve had when traveling, and remember those spots you searched so hard to find.
So if you’re traveling and you want to live like a local, get out there and wander. You’ll be amazed at all the secret places or even know, famous places you’ll find. You never know unless you go.