Ten Small Ways to Live Like the Locals on Your Road Trip

This week on the ACE Summer Road Trip, we’re in Texas! It’s been great learning the history of the state that was a country once upon a time, called the Republic of Texas.

We love exploring different places and want to be sure we get an authentic experience everywhere we travel. If you’re headed out on your own road trip or vacation this summer, do you want to live like a local, too?

Here’s 10 Tiny Tips to Make the Most of Your Travel Experience


1. Explore Local Food Trucks

Ditch tourist-heavy restaurants and fast food chains if you want a local dining experience. Use sites like foodtrucksin.com to locate food trucks near your location and use social media to find hours of operation and menus. You can utilize social media hashtags and Google services to locate dining gems, too!

2. Shop at Local Grocery Stores

Is cooking on the go part of your road trip plan? In need of a toiletry restock? Look out for local or regional-favorite grocery stores. You could score exclusive local brands you won’t find anywhere else and learn a little more about the people of the community.

3. Take a Walk Through Neighborhoods

Spot some curb appeal on your drive? Pull over and take a stroll through a local neighborhood. Maybe you’ve stumbled upon a new development, or historic area rich with a vibrant local community. Bonus points if you get a chance to chat with residents! Always be sure to check your surroundings and be mindful of where you park in areas you’re not familiar with.

4. Pick up the Local Paper

Even in today’s digital world, there’s still no better way to learn about a location than a newspaper. Purchase the local paper at a gas station or grab a free weekly from a diner you explore. Learning about the trending issues and news stories of an area can teach you more about what it means to be a community member and make a great souvenir to look back on in the future.

5. Grab Coffee at a Local Shop

It’s tempting to head to your comfort breakfast spots on the road. If you want to experience a taste of a local community, head to a mom and pop coffee shop or small chain. You could get an opportunity to try out a new roast, scope out some locals heading out to start their day, and even get some tips from the barista on other local hotspots.

Take your adventure off the main road and get some sunshine! Look up popular local parks or playgrounds and pack up for a picnic outside. Getting outdoors is a great way to act like a local and get a glimpse into what family fun looks like in your new city.

7. Visit Local Markets or Shopping Centers

Who doesn’t love a good local market? The vibrant colors, scents and sounds make for a memorable sensory experience for everyone. Outdoor grocery markets, shopping centers, and swap meets are great places to spend an afternoon in a new place. Check out local artisans and vendors, try new foods, and pick up special souvenirs you won’t find anywhere else!

8. Seek Out Local Attractions

Maybe you’ve accidentally found yourself in the Cat Art Capital of the South. Perhaps you stopped in a city specifically for its renowned artisan cheese. In any case, local attractions are the bread and butter of road trip adventures. Anywhere you stop, search for or ask about local attractions (always checking for free or low-cost options, of course). You may find something better than what you bargained for.

9. Try Out Local Transportation

Are you in a big city with heavy foot traffic? Pick up a scooter or bike and explore the city! In a suburb with an afternoon to spare? Head out on the town by public transportation and stop when you see something interesting. In many big cities, public transportation can provide an opportunity to people-watch and experience travel in a new way.

10. Wake Up and Get Out Early

Sleeping in on vacation is great, but the mornings are prime time for locals. On weekdays, locals are headed out to work—a great opportunity to see the most popular grab-and-go breakfast spots and coffee shops. Watch the sunrise in a new town and see what it’s like for morning people in your city.

Part of the fun of travel is broadening your horizon and experiencing everyday life in a new way. Live like a local with these 10 simple tricks and you’ll get even more from your trip!

Want to win some road trip essentials like a $100 prepaid card for gas and a 20-gallon Yeti Cooler? Enter the ACE Summer Road Trip Sweepstakes!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Contest is now closed.  Starts 12:01 PM CDST 7/22/19 and ends 11:59 PM CDST 8/18/19.  Open to residents of 50 U.S./D.C. 18 or older, except employees of Sponsor, its immediate families and those living in the same household.  Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received.  Void outside 50 U.S./D.C. and where prohibited.  A.R.V. of prize package not to exceed $550.  Sponsor: Populus Financial Group, Inc., Irving, TX.