Chatting up other travelers in the hostel common room is all well and good, but when you’re in an unfamiliar place it’s helpful to get insider tips from the people who live there – not just the ones who are passing through. Meeting locals isn’t always easy, though, since they often have little vested interest in befriending someone who’ll be gone in a few days.
How does a traveler meet the locals, then? It’s simple – sit at the bar.
Many of the travelers I know are minimalists – some can (and do) fit everything they own into just a backpack or two. There’s a part of me that longs for that kind of pared-down nomadic ethos, but I know I’m probably not capable of emulating it. What’s more, over the years I’ve come to find that some of my packrat tendencies actually serve a travel purpose.