Rue How-To: 5 Tips for Traveling Like a Local

WE WANT TO GO: BLISS TRAVELS SHARES TOURING SECRETS
 
Bliss Travels

For most of us, vacation time is sacred. So when we treat ourselves to a trip abroad, we want a personalized getaway – not some cookie-cutter trip. That’s why we turned to the experts at Bliss Travels to get insider tips on how to make the most of a tour.

Ask for a walking map
If you like to walk, stroll right past those crammed bus tours and opt for an intimate pedestrian view of the city. Ask your guide to cater a walking map to your interests. And the best part? You can do it on your own time. “Getting crammed onto a bus and shuttled from place to place with different guides with varying degrees of English comprehension gets frustrating,” explains J. F., who honeymooned in the south of France with Bliss Travels. “Your guide can lead you to some of the most breathtaking sights in the region without the regimented style of a tour group.”

Sweat the sights
Don’t love the typical museum-lunch-museum itinerary? No problem. Think of how you like to spend your time – then explore the city that way. One of our favorite alternatives? A sweaty, scenic run. Take in all the sights – and work up an appetite for more local treats.

Get a guided dinner reservation
Every traveler knows to ask around for a local dinner hotspot – but only the most savvy think to ask their guide make the call. Having an in with someone who knows the language means you may score a better table – or even a tableside visit from the chef.

Get close to the action
An unforgettable meal is a treat in and of itself. But if you want an even deeper connection to the city’s culinary scene, you want an in with the people in the aprons. Your guide can get you beyond the dining room and straight to the action in the kitchen. “Nothing made me feel more connected to the people and the food than when I was allowed to look upon a French kitchen,” explains J.D.

Chat with the locals
Hidden gems generally aren’t in your bookstore’s guidebooks – and for good reason. (Wouldn’t you be ticked if your favorite neighborhood spot was overrun with tours?) The best way to get to know a city? Ask someone who lives there! Your guide can hook you up with locals with similar interests – and some may even become lifelong friends. (Like you needed another reason to go back.)

March 24, 2011