Apart from the occasional taxi driver or a waiter, the average tourist doesn’t often get the opportunity to meet locals during his or her trip. However, things are slowly changing. Booking trips on-line can result in interesting encounters and friendships.
Number of people who think that by plunging into wide depths of Internet we will get lost and alienated is increasing and there are far more of those who support this belief than the opposite one – that by using Internet we will become closer, better connected, meet new people and become part of the “networked society”. All the necessary components of one trip can now get a personal dimension. Everything from transportation, accommodation, food, sightseeing, making new friends… is just a “click” away!
This is how:
- You need transport, but you are on a tight budget. However, you are in no hurry, flexible and full of adventurous spirit – go to BlaBlaCar, find a driver or a co-driver who is travelling on the same route, arrange to split costs and set off in a joint adventure.
- If you need accommodation there are Couchsurfing and Airbnb. Friendly hosts will welcome you into their homes; you will save money and along the way, possibly, make new friends.
- As we walk around an unfamiliar city and our attention is attracted by smells coming from someone’s kitchen…. Surely we must ask ourselves what a lunch of one average local family looks like. EatWith will help us resolve this dilemma. It is an on-line community that provides the possibility to connect (pre-paid) and join the local people of your choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Of course in agreement with the owners.
- If we want someone to shows us their city from a personal point of view, to bring us to their favorite place or share with us the latest gossip full of “salacious” details … we can do this completely free of charge along with members of the Global Greeter Network.
The very fact that we as foreigners without a single acquaintance are released in one’s living space is going to result in a completely different relationship with the destination and development of specific emotions that we otherwise wouldn’t have had. New culture, customs, tastes and habits, everyday life, family relationships and the way the locals socialize, going out to the market, participating in cooking classes and trying traditional local specialties accompanied with lots of useful tips, will connect us with the hosts in a relaxed and casual manner and throw a completely new light on our understanding of the trip.
PhD student in Tourism. Teaching Assistat at the Faculty of Sport and Tourism. Author of a number of travel articles. Traveller. Explorer.