How to live like a local in Spain ? guest post written by Roxanne Bridger
Often taking a trip involves a ‘traditional’ holiday experience of living in hotels, eating in restaurants, and taking tourist friendly transportation. But what would it be like to experience life like a local in a foreign land? With some careful planning and a burning desire to really dig into the culture, travellers can savour a more authentic slice of life as it's served in a familiar country like Spain.
The first step to becoming ‘localised’ is having a basic grasp of the spoken language. Spanish is actually a relatively easy language to learn, particularly for speakers of other Romance languages such as French, English, Italian, or Portuguese. When it comes to learning, there are plenty of resources for even the most time-strapped
individuals with frequency of practice being the most important factor to consider. As such, ‘students’ shouldn’t get bogged down by perfectionism because the most valuable teachings will come by experience in conversation with the locals.
There are agencies that will set up travellers with a temporary apartment in Spain, transport, and a guide of the local Spanish stops to visit such as shops and cafes. These are a great option, but not necessary for the experience. To live like a local, pack lightly and avoid backpacks. Nothing says tourist like traveling with most of your possessions strapped to your back. When it comes time to eating, avoid locations mostly frequented by tourists and look for places that regularly welcome a steady stream of locals; the best local hotspots enjoy a steady amount of foot traffic.
Make sure you learn about traditions and delicacies local to the area you are staying in. Spain has 17 different local regions with a terrain and climate that changes vastly from one to the next. This means variety to local farming and, thus, food. The Basque Country is close to the sea and so is famous for its stews, fish and seafood dishes, while La Rioja is renowned for superb wine, local fresh vegetables, meats and poultry. There is an abundance of hams and spicy chorizo sausages to be tasted. And don’t just eat with the locals, cook with them. A cookery class is a great way to learn how to cook and those who are lucky might even learn a few secret Spanish cooking traditions.
As you wander through Spain, try and make conversation with people. Engage with everyone you encounter; maybe buy them a coffee or drink. Be friendly, then sit back and learn. Many people are happy to take the time to share what they know if they realise that you're genuinely interested. Take note of regional sayings; having a small notepad on hand is great for this.
To live like a local, take ownership of your surroundings and drink in as much local culture as you can. That's really all it takes!
This is a guest post by Roxanne Bridger, a travel blogger at the flight comparison site. If this piece has inspired you to travel to Spain, take a look at the offers they have for the cheapest flights to Barcelona, Madrid or any of other top Spanish cities.