Part of what makes Backroads so special is our emphasis on introducing our guests to the local culture of the region where they’re traveling. We often employ local guides who live in the area to give you an authentic look at what it’s like to live there and our Trip Leaders are also incredibly knowledgeable about the areas where they travel.
From the design of the trip to our Trip Leaders, we’ll guide you along the way to explore the local culture, but here are a few tips in advance to help you get the most out of your active trip.
- Stop – You are on a bike tour or walking tour, after all, so you have the option to stop and take in the world around you. Hop off the bike and browse the local food market or walk into a café and strike up a conversation. You’ll be amazed at the rich interactions you’ll remember for years to come.
- Know Your No-No’s – Following the proper etiquette in other countries can be an important way to demonstrate respect for another culture and increase the likelihood of engaging interactions. For specific regional customs, ask your Trip Planner before you leave or check with your culturally-savvy Trip Leader as to the correct “do’s” and “don’ts.”
- Be Chatty – Learn a few basic phrases and practice them with the locals. Don’t be shy. Ask questions and share your excitement and you’ll be surprised by the enthusiastic response! Check with your Trip Planner for a list of commonly used words and phrases.
- Get Educated – Read up on the region before you get there. Backroads provides a list of travel-inspiring books for recommended reading for each of our bike trips and hiking trips.
- Take a Picture – Photographing new places is one of travel’s most rewarding gifts. Be sensitive when shooting local peoples and religious or ceremonial sites by asking permission first. Show your appreciation by thanking them. You could also ask for their name and address and sending them a copy of the photograph.
What tips do you have for immersing yourself in the local culture? How did you strike up a conversation with a local on an active vacation? We’d love to hear!
For more advice on how to enhance your cultural experience before you depart, check with our Trip Planners 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific daily at 800-462-2848.