What are your favorite travel memories?
My guess is that most of you will immediately think of an experience with locals. You were invited for dinner in a new friend’s home, or met some local people in a bar and spent your evening together playing traditional card games? These moments seem more special, since while on vacation, it’s easy to spot all of the other tourists at the major sites, but the locals can be hard to find.
So often we follow a tourism handbook to an awesome old local café and arrive to find it overloaded with tourists from our home country!
I love big trips, what they call “slow travel.” I studied abroad in southern Spain in college, have taken many month-long trips, and even spent a year in Costa Rica. But what do you do when you don’t have that kind of time to slowly meet the people who live in the place you’re visiting? Now there’s an answer, which I thought was pretty genius: a new site called Withlocals.com.
I just spent a month traveling through several countries in Asia and found out about WithLocals after I got back. The online marketplace covers everything related to food and traveling, via interaction with in-the-know locals from Asian countries such as Nepal and Malaysia. Here, expect to find a young local buddy who is an expert in fruit carving and wants to cook his family’s secret recipes, or wants to show you his favorite out-of-the-way places. You might make rice, or even some traditional jewelry to take home. WithLocals sets you up with the locals of your choice so you communicate with them directly, and is of course a great way for them to earn money from their passion.
One example is a home-dinner experience. Khuong from Vietnam offers a total food experience, starting with bringing her travelers to the local market to buy fresh ingredients for dinner. After that, she teaches how to cook local dishes such as spring rolls, summer rolls and Pho. And of course, everyone sits down to dinner at the end, together with her family.
Now that’s how I like to travel!
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