Do’s and Don’ts: Speaking With Locals

Like all human beings, you have good ones and bad ones. Locals at your tourist destination are the same. Some people can be super nice and helpful and you may even make a friend. Others can try to scam you for money, lure you into a dangerous situation or just being plain annoying.

DO – Use your judgement to determine the intentions of the person you will be speaking with. Social cues like body language and tone can be common indicators if someone will be a pleasure to speak with or leave you irritated.

DONT – Follow them or pay them anything without asking some questions first. You always want to make sure you are receiving services or products from a trusted source and you don’t want to end up with cheap or fake products or follow them somewhere and get lost. Always ask some verifying questions to make sure you’re on the right path.

DO – Try to use their native language (ex. If in Mexico try to speak Spanish). This will show them that you are genuinely trying to communicate with them – that little bit of effort goes a long way! Think of the last time a tourist asked you for directions in your home town and they made an effort to speak to you in your language?

DONT – Talk down to them or belittle them. Local people at your travel destination are people just like you. They may not speak your language or share the same culture or values as you, but you need to respect that. Treat everyone with respect.

DO – Ask for local hot spots that may not be well-known. You could potentially find some cheaper deals or explore a new place you’ve never even heard of! Again, always use your discretion when deciding to take advice or hangout with the locals.

No matter where you go you will most likely encounter vendors on the streets trying to sell their goods or ill-intended people involved in gangs or other dangerous entities. Don’t become paranoid by these stories you hear on the news, but definitely stay attentive and always use your best possible discretion to make the best decision. Conversing with local residents of the place you are traveling to is always an incredible experience. You can learn lots about their culture and language.

Have you had any positive or negative local interactions while on vacay? Share your stories with us below! We would love to hear from you.

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