Dec 21, 2020
Traveling to new places also means traveling among new people. Interacting with locals in a new country is one of the most rewarding parts of the whole travel experience. Connecting with people who see the world from a different perch of perspective widens
our view of what's possible.
The old modes of interacting with locals—striking up a conversation at a coffee shop, saying hello to someone in the park, quizzing your taxi driver, etc.—aren't going anywhere.
But recent technological innovations have made possible whole new ways to say “hello,” to a new people and place. Here are five brave new ways to connect with locals.
1. Find and Join and English Language Exchange Group on Facebook
If you speak English, people all over the world want to talk to you. And if you don't, how are you reading this?
Being the language of global popular culture and commerce, millions of people from all walks of life are studying hard to get a handle on English. That makes you a hot commodity in a foreign-tongued land. Just search Facebook for the city you're
traveling to and add "English Language Exchange.” Join the groups that appeal and post when you'll be available for a meetup.
Use the same amount of discretion you would use when meeting someone from the Internet at home. Meet somewhere in public where there will be a lot of traffic, like a park or cafè.
2. Get the Inside Scoop From the Locals on Instagram
As soon as you determine a destination for your next trip, you can get the inside scoop of where to go, where to eat, and what to do by following people from that city or country on Instagram.
Instagram provides a great platform for you to follow people in a new place with similar interests as you.
Standard rules of Internet courtesy apply here. But the great thing about Instagram is that it's a platform where it's generally OK to ask questions and comments on photos of people you follow but have never met in real life.
If anything following people from a future destination it will rev up your excitement for the coming trip. You'll feel like you know the place before you travel there.
3. Connect with Locals at Meetup
Connecting with locals in a new city isn't that different than how you connect with people with a similar interest in your own city. Meetup.com is one great modern way people with a similar interest connect in their city.
So wherever your destination is, you can use meetup.com to find meet ups and events with exactly the type of people and activities you want to be a part of.
4. Connect With Locals Using Dating Apps
This is an article about connecting with locals, not dating them, so here let's just consider the platonic purposes of dating apps that you might not have considered.
When Google was no help to me in finding a remote Buddhist monastery of legend in Thailand, I turned to Tinder. I politely asked my matches if they could help me with their local knowledge. One came through huge and her help led me to one of the most mind-blowing journeys of my life.
5. Use EatWith to Eat With Locals
EatWith is my favorite of recent platforms that have emerged to connect traveler with locals. It combines this trinity of passions—travel, culture, and food!
Luke Maguire Armstrong is the author of "The Nomad's Nomad." He has spent the last decade traveling, writing and designing, and funding philanthropic programs around the world.