When it comes to taking a vacation in Spain, there are definitely things that you can do to make your experience better. First, you should try to learn a bit of Castilian Spanish. Being able to communicate in the native language of Spain will make your experience more positive and it’s a beautiful language. You also want to make sure that you plan your trip carefully because there are so many wonderful places to visit in each city that you will miss out on the best ones without a plan. Most importantly, you want to make sure that you connect with locals while traveling in Spain. There are plenty of agencies that connect travelers with locals in Spain. Let’s find out why local guides are so helpful in this beautiful country.
Locals Know Where to Go
When it comes to finding places to go, locals are definitely the help that you need. Locals know all of the best spots out there to visit as well as which ones can be avoided. Something may be hyped in a tourist brochure or by your travel planner, but a local is in a much better position to advise you on what really deserves a visit in their hometown. They not only know the most common tourist spots, but they know the ones that no one ever talks about. That’s where the real value of a local guide comes in, because you can visit these destinations without having to stand in line or worry about the crowds. Even if you go to a major tourist destination, your local tour guide can tell you when the best time is to visit to avoid the crowds or see a landmark in the best light.
Locals Help You Avoid Problems
Locals also can help you avoid problems. In some parts of the world, it can be dangerous to travel to some areas of a particular city or town. It can also be problematic to dress a certain way or act a certain way in some locales. A local guide, sometimes called a “fixer” can help you to avoid these problems. Plus, they help you avoid common pitfalls that other tourists will be tripped up by such as being guided by hotel staff to restaurants with poor-quality food that provide kickbacks to the hotel instead of the restaurant a block away that has incredible food. A local fixer is an invaluable resource in remote areas away from the normal tourist hotspots, and they can help you avoid major problems in these areas, arrange for museum tours after hours, ensure that you don’t get accosted by unsavory characters and much more. A local guide is worth every penny they charge and a big tip on top.
Locals Are Awesome People
Finally, you should consider connecting with locals in Spain simply because most of them are really awesome people. They are proud of their amazing country and relish the opportunity to show it off. Most of the local guides that you encounter will have grown up in the area and can help you in hundreds of small ways that you will appreciate, but they will also be amazing companions that you and your group will have a great time with. You can find locals that are just about any age so that you and your friends will have stuff in common with them and they will know what sort of things your age group would appreciate most in Spain, from the best food to the best internet cafes; from the best place to grab a drink or get out on the dance floor.
A personal twist: my local Madrid experience
Visiting Madrid for the second time, and after the heads-up of a friend, I decided to use the platform Withlocals to connect with local Madrilenos and to get to know the city in a more in-depth way. With their help and by having some knowledge of the city on my own, I was able to see so much more. For example, a real local market, where I enjoyed authentic Spanish tapas, and a few cool boutiques in Madrid I had not found otherwise. My local guide gave me also a couple of good leads on the finest nightclubs in town, which literally made my nights out.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that you definitely want to connect with locals when you go to Spain since you don’t want to miss out on all the fun! Unless you speak Spanish, you may not be able to communicate as well as you’d like, but there are a huge number of locals in Spain that speak good English and will appreciate you reaching out to them in one way or the other, and trying to get to know them and their culture beyond the usual stereotypes!