Blending In: How To Visit a City Without Feeling Like A Tourist
“Blending in” can be a difficult feat. It is especially difficult when you’re feeling particularly out of place. When I picture the standard “tourist”, it is someone holding a map, in a Hawaiian shirt, with thickly applied sunblock. They stand out.
Being a tourist makes you a target… which is dangerous for solo travelers, especially girls! Here’s some tips on blending into your new environment:
Airbnb: Try it!
I’ve been hosted by airbnb in 9 different cities to date. This has been my rock of “blending in.” My hosts quickly became my friends, pointing me in the right direction throughout my journey. Staying in a hotel takes you away from all the action, while staying with locals puts you right in the middle of it. Learn from your surroundings!
Public Transportation: Learn it!
Nothing has made me feel more successful than navigating San Francisco’s BART system. Once I have mastered that, I felt my options expand tremendously. Uber and Lyft are also great methods of transportation, however, all of those trips add up! If you are in a city that has a decent public transportation system- utilize it! Los Angeles’ train system was unimpressive, however, SF’s BART was convenient, reliable, and cheap!
Food: Don’t eat at chains!
I pride myself on being a major foodie. If you avoid eating at chains, you open yourself up to the amazing world of new tastes that are Out There! Don’t be afraid of a tiny place that doesn’t seem like it has much to offer… often times, those are the most delicious! Nervous to dive into new food territories unarmed? Use Yelp to help you navigate! Must places post there menus online, too!
(There is of course an exception to this rule, and it goes by the name of: In and Out Burger. Go, order your meal “animal style”, and thank me later).