Similar tourist traps and millions of other tourists on your journey, but no local to be found. Sounds familiar? Often when people are traveling abroad, they simple follow their tourism handbook or go with the maps the hotel gave them. In this way, tourists surely get an impression of a city, but not of the local people actually living in it.
Touristic places like to sell the idea of being authentic, but mostly, they are all providing you with the same experience. On your journey abroad, the real magic happens when you step out of the touristic comfort zone, and start thinking like a local.
There is a new kid on the block in travel land, an organization called Withlocals, which aims to connect travelers and locals directly through food and experiences. The local population can offer travelers educative experiences, such as a fruit carving workshop, learning how to make your own cheese with local ingredients, or how to drive a Tuk-Tuk through busy traffic. Locals can also invite you for a dinner at their family’s home. You can learn how to prepare local dishes such as Gudeg in Yogyakarta or Gaeng Daeng in Thailand, and make new friends at the same time. On top of this, you will probably eat one of the best dinners you have ever had!
The way of tourism Withlocals offers is a move towards creating global citizens. Tourists get to know the culture of a city they are visiting up-close, while the local population get an honest price for something they do daily since they can set their own prices for the various tours, activities and home-dinner experiences. To engage in this concept, you will get an educative and cultural experience by meeting a local family, while at the same time making a huge difference by paying them directly.
Got enthusiastic? In September, Withlocals will launch in several countries in Asia for a small group of tourists and locals. Have a look at the website for more information. If you want to become a host and take part in the mission to redesign the tourism industry, visit the website of Withlocals and subscribe for the first launch in September.