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Real Experiences ONLY Please

Real Experiences ONLY Please
18 March 2024 Samantha Anderson

dealchecker’s top tips for travelling authentically in 2024.

The move towards more authentic travel experiences is continuing to grow, with three quarters of Brits looking beyond the well-trodden tourist path in favour of experiences that are more mindful, authentic, and sustainable*. Rosie Panter, travel expert at the UK’s trusted travel comparison website, dealchecker, shares her top tips for those wanting to avoid overpriced and overhyped tourist traps that lace city centres, for a more genuine experience.

Rosie says: “Fly and flop is out and authentic, genuine travel experiences are in. Why spend seven days straight at the pool, when you could spend time be immersed in a community, far from the usual tourist crowds?

“In fact, a recent report found that 68% of respondents like to leave unplanned time in their trip just so they can soak up the local culture and activities*.

“This year, learn about the unique cultures of the country you are visiting and spend time in the real heart of a destination. Think about it – how much time do Londoners actually spend trawling Oxford Street or hanging out outside Buckingham Palace?

“No more pronouncing ‘hola’ with a hard H. Learn a bit more about the place you are visiting, immerse yourself in the local culture and experience a more authentic break. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.”

Rosie’s top tips below…

Find where the locals eat and drink

Glitzy and glamorous city centres scream two words: tourist trap. These spots tend to be filled with sightseers and are often expensive watered-down versions of the real deal, catered towards the international palate and not a native one. Step away from these busy areas and seek out the spots where locals like to eat and drink.

If you are willing to venture outside of these zones and down unassuming side streets, you’ll experience a completely different side of the city. Not only will these restaurants and bars have a certain buzzy charm about them, they’ll be cheaper too. You’ll also have the chance to interact with locals and get a deeper understanding of a place, with one-of-a-kind insights that you won’t find in any guidebooks.

Try a country’s ‘third city’

When opting for a city break, choosing the right your destination is key to ensuring you get a proper feel for the place. Eschew the first and second cities, enter the third city, a lesser-known alternative, which whilst less popular with tourists, will be equally as good.

Think Bologna over Milan or Rome for Italy’s best food, and Hvar over Dubrovnik or Split for a slice of Croatia’s finest beaches and views.

A visit to the third city will guarantee a more authentic break, with less tourists, cheaper restaurants and plenty of unique gems to sink your teeth into.

Don’t stop at ‘Hello’ – learn the language

We’ve all been there – arrived at a destination, ready to jump on a bus or in a taxi but have found ourselves stuck trying to talk to natives, due to little to no knowledge of the language. No one wants to find themselves in a situation where they are left stranded, trying to work out where the toilet is, or scared to order a coffee, for fear they’ll end up with an espresso and milk instead of a ‘Café Latte’.

Skip the small talk, download a companion app before your trip, and try to nail the basics. Treat it like a competition among friends, whoever can stay in the native tongue the longest when ordering coffee wins and the loser has to foot the bill.

Stay local!

While staying central in a well-known globally recognised hotel might seem like the safest bet when booking a trip, it is unlikely to give you a real feel for the city. Research where in the city is popular to live and opt to stay there. This way, you are more likely to be supporting a family-run hotel, getting deep under the skin of a city, and authentically supporting the neighbourhood. Your hosts will also be able to give you the lowdown on all the best local spots.

But why?

Authentic tourism is a more sustainable way to explore the world. By heading to lesser known destinations, supporting local hotels, restaurants and shops, you’ll get a real insight into the local culture and likely have a much better experience – it’s that simple!


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