No matter where you’re traveling, you’re going to want to fit into the local culture. Big tourist destinations can be great to see and spend some time at, but it’s also important to experience where you are like a local. Many cities are much different from how they’re presented to tourists; take time to see what a new place is truly like by experiencing it like a local. While there are some tips you can apply no matter where you go, I’m going to highlight traveling in Poland.
Understand basic facts
One of the best ways to experience a new city or country like a local is to simply familiarize yourself with the place before you go there. Learn how the public transportation works and what type of currency is used (in Poland, they use the zloty, though some establishments accept euros). Know what airports are located where and some basic facts about the culture. Take the time to learn common Polish phrases that can help with communicating while you’re traveling.
Actually talk to locals
When you’re in Poland, actually make an effort to communicate with the locals. Some people may not speak English very well, but many are willing to talk to you and give advice on great places to visit or get food. Do not be shy about talking to locals; even if they aren’t particularly friendly, most people are welcoming!
Try the traditional food
Poland has incredible cuisine. No matter what dietary restrictions you have, there’s bound to be some type of traditional Polish food you can try. Even if it doesn’t sound that appealing, step outside of your comfort zone a little. Perogies are one of the most traditional Polish foods and come in a variety of types; go ahead and give them a try.
Visit other cities
It can be tempting to simply go to the big cities, such as Warsaw or Krakow, but there are many other towns and cities to see in Poland. Find smaller places that have historical significance or beautiful sites. Most cities are known for something interesting, so find a place off the beaten path to visit. It might be more difficult to find people who speak English, but the uniqueness of your trip will more than make up for it.
Check out natural sites
One of the most rewarding experiences of traveling is seeing the natural beauty in new places. Most travelers tend to stick to teeming cities and visit man-made sites. However, no matter where you go, there are natural wonders you can see. In Poland, you can hike (or ski, depending on the time of year) the Karkonosze Mountains. These beautiful peaks run along the border Poland shares with the Czech Republic and offer stunning views.
Luckily, we now live in the age of technology, which makes travel much easier. Check out online forums or blogs in order to get an idea of local places to visit while traveling. There are plenty of websites and apps that make it even easier to travel as a local; learn as much as you can before your trip!