I always explore my destinations far beyond the touristy parts of town and often through the eyes of native friends who can show me around. I am a local traveler. And just as there are all kinds of locals, there are all kinds of local travel experiences to be had. It just depends on which sides of a destination one chooses to discover.
Personally, I like to jump around.
I don’t simply want to eat at the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall restaurant or that trending food truck with amazing cuisine. I also want to have upscale dining experiences popular among locals. Sometimes I want to stay in a charming Airbnb listing. Other times I’ll opt for a lovely bed and breakfast. And other times still, I’ll choose a hip and stylish boutique hotel with lots of amenities.
You see what I mean? While I don’t strictly have low or high budget tastes, I do always seek the opportunity to get to know the local ways of life and uncover my destination beyond the tourist facade.
I’ve learned that great travel is about choosing activities and accommodations that allow you to feel a kinship with your destination – not be walled off from it. And I have an eye for identifying authentic and quality experiences throughout a range of price points and luxury levels.
In an attempt to categorize various travel experiences I’ve come up with a new rating system. This will help you, my reader and viewer, to find the type of local travel information you seek.
My three categories for hotels, restaurants, and activities are:
Local Luxury is that top notch travel experience, often pricey, that provides you both great service and amenities while still allowing you to connect with local culture. For example, it’s the boutique hotel in the up-and-coming part of town. Or it might be an upscale restaurant treasured by locals who have the means to dine there.
Local Charm can refer to that mom and pop, neighborhood restaurant where the locals go for the best food in town. Or it could refer to that adorable bed and breakfast owned by a friendly and hospitable couple. Local Charm most often means there is a clear authenticity of native culture present with an eye for aesthetic, hospitality and service.
Local Roughing It refers to those experiences where you may stay in a hostel, beach bungalow or on someone’s couch. It might mean getting your hands dirty on a farm or exploring a sometimes dangerous part of town. You will find I cover Local Roughing It experiences the least. But sometimes it is when you rough it that you can have the most transformational moments.
For my first post using this rating system I’d like to review Berner’s Tavern and the Punch Room at The London Edition Hotel. These beautiful venues fits squarely in the Local Luxury. Go check them out!