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A Brief Guide to Becoming an A-Typical Tourist

Posted on 29th November 2019

Tourism: it’s so omnipresent, especially during Christmas. My family has always placed an emphasis on experiencing different cultures during this time by visiting different locations, having understood the importance of an appreciation for both our way of life and others. However, if you are lucky enough to experience the culture of a different city or country, it is easy to become ensnared in the all too familiar consumerism of tacky souvenirs and overpriced food. Although this is of course beneficial to the growth of your host’s economy, a more sincere attempt at immersing one’s self in different culture is both more individually fulfilling and supportive of local business. Here’s how best to go about becoming an a-typical tourist for this festive season:

Bike tours

Something I’ve discovered as an excellent way to discover a new place is bike tours. They are fantastic in large cities as there are often many cycle paths which enable a much faster trip around the city compared to public transport or taxis. With a good tour guide, you can often learn much more about the city than you ever could by using the internet.

Museums/art galleries

A personal favourite of mine. Museums and art galleries are full to the brim with culture and information about the city, often even very small galleries can provide you with interesting perspectives on the history of the city itself – as long as you find the right gallery, of course. Make sure to book an exhibition that interests you, for example, don’t waste your time going to visit the Mona Lisa if you aren’t interested in the Renaissance!

Learn the language

One of the best ways to a local’s heart is to speak to them in their mother tongue. After all, it is said that to speak to a non-English speaker in English is to speak to their mind, and to speak in their own language is to speak to their heart. Even just learning the words for ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ (I emphasise: with correct pronunciation!) will earn you a spot in the good books.

Above all: enjoy yourself! I find it’s often easy when away with family to end up feeling bored and missing your friends and home life, but try to focus on spending quality time resting both your mind and body.

Happy holidays!

 

Stella Paliobei-Keki (Studying A Level French, English Literature, and Law.)