5 Tips for How to Get Beyond the Surface When You Travel

Krysten Ritter
1. Find a reason to go to non-touristy neighborhoods.

The things that take me to non-touristy ‘hoods are hunting down vegan restaurants and visiting locations from TV shows, which are both activities I like to do while traveling. Find a reason that suits your interests.

2. Stay longer.

If you stay more than a month in one place you’re much more likely to venture beyond the tourist highlights. If you’re on a year long rtw, putting down roots for a month can help your budget and your stress (yes, travel can be stressful due to constant decision making and change).

3. Listen to local radio and read the local paper.

If you’re heading my way, this (Si and Gary show) is the morning radio show that everyone I know listens to. (no podcast version unfortunately).

For NYC I love WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show(also available as a podcast).

4. Take a class that’s aimed at locals.

For example, I took bike mechanic classes in NYC the last two summers. I would love to take an acting class at some point #bucketlist.

5. Find a way of getting to see behind the scenes of one of your interests.

I’m obsessed with Broadway and one of the things I love to do in New York is volunteer usher. Last year I ushered a show with Zach Braff (from Scrubs and movies) and Krysten Ritter (from the B in Apartment 23). It was previews so I got to see them rehearsing before the show. This takes quite a bit of advance planning so best suited if you’re in town for an extended period. I can see how it would be fun to volunteer on a political campaign or for a sporting event.

What are the quirky, interest-based, behind the scenes type things you’ve done while traveling?

Please leave a comment if you have anything to add.

photo credit: kyleluker via photopin cc


  1. // Reply

    Finding local playgroups or preschools that your kids can attend is great too. Kids are a great icebreaker and cultural/language barriers are virtually non-existent for them.

  2. // Reply

    I like the idea of taking a class aimed at locals. I have done something similar, but they were classes aimed at visitors for language learning, etc. Even those helped because I stayed in the place longer.

  3. // Reply

    These are all great tips. I would listen to the radio in Ireland as I drove around. It really helped me get to know a lot about the culture that I didn’t know. I also like to go in grocery stores when I travel. A volunteer usher on Broadway sounds like fun!

  4. // Reply

    Great tips, I especially like tip 2 some places I would like to stay for ever 🙂

  5. // Reply

    There are so many wonderful programs out there, from couchsurfing to what’s on to dining with locals. Like many who travel, my experiences that are marked by locals are often more interesting and memorable than simple touring!

  6. // Reply

    Great suggestions, Kate. We like renting flats/cottages wherever we go. That immediately takes us into non-touristy areas. Nothing like buying bread or dish soap at the local market to put you “in the milieu” 🙂

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