If you’re visiting a new city, at some point, you’ll probably want to get away from the overly touristy areas. Whether it’s for a more authentic experience, the opportunity to see and do something different, to get away from the crowd, or to save money, there are many reasons to explore beyond the beaten path.

Let’s look at a few ways you can more easily live like a local—even if it’s just for a day or two!

Research Neighborhoods

If you really want to explore a city off the beaten track, researching different neighborhoods will help—especially if you understand what’s shaped each neighborhood into something unique. If you’re heading to London, for example, Soho is a great place for nightlife and an artistic atmosphere, which is quite a different feel from the Notting Hill area, which is quieter and more romantic (and still colorful!).

You’ll want to research safety in particular. On paper, it might seem as though you can easily walk between two different spots you’d love to visit, but the most direct path isn’t always the safest—think about times you may have wandered one block too far into an area that’s a bit dicey. Sites like AreaVibes and Nomad List are great for understanding walkability, public transport options, safety, accessibility, and much more.

Seek Recommendations Locally

Read travel sites, guides, local blogs and social media accounts, and other resources to get an overview of what each neighborhood offers. Focus on personal recommendations in particular—they’ll highlight spots that aren’t as well-known to the general public but that offer a genuine experience of the city. Plus, locals can give you insights into the best way to travel between different locations. You don’t want to get on the metro line everyone avoids because it’s always breaking down…something you might not know if you only use the local transit authority app!

Explore Lesser-Known Areas

Heading outside of the more touristy areas and into the spots where locals actually live and hang out will for sure give you a more authentic experience—but we wanted to mention this no-brainer because it’s also a good way to reduce the negative impact on overly-visited spots. Shopping and eating at smaller, local stores and eateries supports the community and gives you a better connection to it. Plus, you’ll have fairer prices and great recommendations for friends and fellow travelers heading to the same city!

Go To Local Events

Your reason for traveling might be for a festivity—and it’s an excellent opportunity to check out smaller (or totally unrelated) events throughout the city. Look at community calendars to see what’s on; you might find smaller street fairs, parties, and other fun things to do in neighborhoods you would’ve never thought to visit.

Try Local and Regional Food and Drinks

It’s fun to get outside of your comfort zone and try new cuisines—and the best way to experience that is to travel beyond the city center and main tourist attractions. Seek out places where locals eat, like family-owned restaurants and street food vendors. If you’re staying a while, check out your local market, where you might find regional specialties you can’t get at home or even in tourist-heavy areas within the same city.

Related: 12 Tips for Feasting Internationally (and Staying on a Budget)

Use Different Types of Transportation

Public transport, biking, and walking are all fantastic ways to explore a new destination at a slower pace—and can lead to unexpected discoveries! You’ll make a smaller impact on the environment and have more direct interaction with the city’s layout and points of interest (and IMO commit more of that navigation to memory than if you’re zoned out in an Uber)…not to mention the people-watching.

Related: Ditch the Car and Discover a New City on Foot, Bike, or Public Transit

Learn Key Phrases

Learning simple greetings, questions, and expressions of thanks will make you more comfortable while out and about, and show respect to the residents. It’ll lead to more meaningful conversations and make you feel less like a complete outsider.

Related: Overcoming Language Barriers While Traveling: Tools & Techniques You Should Know

Dress and Behave Appropriately

If you’re traveling to a destination or event with a dress code, you’ll want to know all the ins and outs of what’s appropriate to wear well in advance—you don’t want to get in trouble or seem rude, even if unintentional. And if there is no dress code, it’s still helpful to get an idea of what locals consider everyday wear: if nothing else, dressing more like a local and less like a tourist will make you less of a target to opportunistic vendors, or even worse, pickpockets and scammers.

Related: 15 Most Common Travel Scams—and How to Avoid Them

What other recommendations do you have for immersing yourself in a new city, even for a few days? Share your insights and stories with the Frayed Passport community!

About the Author

Heather is a freelance writer who loves exploring the intersection of travel and history. Read her other articles on Frayed Passport here.

Featured image by Sarah Stone, Frayed Passport

Frayed Passport is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to