Isn’t it interesting how two similar people can go the same destination, live in the same area, at the same time and have wildly different impressions of the destination? It’s because of the individual, not the destination. It has to do with the individual’s values, who they are as a person and if it fits with the destinations societal, cultural, geographic, etc. markers.
Below I detail out how I choose where to live, what activities to do when I’m there, and how I meet locals and travelers. I hope you’ll use it as a starting point and for ideas during your travels.
It’s a constant work in progress.
What I Value in my Destination
The following list is in order of importance:
Attractive women (let’s be honest, everything is better with attractive women within eyesight)
Walkability (convenient to use walking for most errands or safe to bike/scoot)
Bars close no later than 2am
Either minimal traffic or efficient public transit and/or Uber scooter availability
Has a beach
Pickup basketball games plentiful
Society is not religious (50%+ say religion is not important)
Many day trips from the city
Many events on websites like Facebook or Meetup (ie active communities)
Cleanliness (ie no trash on the streets/the locals have to care about this)
All of this has to be compared to the Cost Of Living in the destination. For example, most major cities on the coast of America fit all the criteria, but the cost of living is so much higher than in major cities outside the US. It’s not important how much you make: if you have spent X or 50% of X for the same quality of life, you’d be a dummy to spend X.
Where I Like to Live within a City
In a populous/convenient neighborhood or within a 10-minute walk from the “main” street
Near the nightlife as I’m more willing to travel long distances during the daytime.
Near (in order of preference):
Library/co-working space/internet cafe
*Search ‘grocery’, ‘supermarket’, or ‘warehouse club’ to find on google maps
**Search for ‘gym’, ‘health club’, ‘sports club’, and ‘fitness club’ on google
Activities I Enjoy
Explore the cafe scene (you’d be surprised how many hidden and secret cafe’s exist in all cities)
Explore popular neighborhoods
Go to Zoos and amusement parks
Go to beaches and parks
Discover the nightlife
Walk around shopping centers and markets
Find local festivals and fairs (on Facebook, change your current city and click on events section)
Note: Don’t search for a generic phrase like ‘travel guide Las Palmas’. Instead, figure out why you are going to this city to narrow your search. For example, if you are going for the improv scene, you’d search for ‘improv Mumbai’ or if you want the best jazz locations, search ‘jazz club Las Palmas’ or even ‘hidden activities Almaty’ is better than generic city tourist itineraries.
Do a google search for ‘hidden/unique [destination] (guide)’ and avoid the big websites with static and super touristy recommendations. Instead, go to page two and three onward and click on the small travel blogger websites. This way you’ll pick up the super obvious destinations plus many more unique activities.
Search ‘Digital nomad(s) [city]’ on Facebook****
Search ‘Americans in [city]’ on Facebook****
Search ‘Expats in [city]’ on Facebook****
Search ‘Friends in [city]’ on Facebook
Work from co-working space, cafe’s, and libraries to meet locals (they usually have weekly events)
A barbershop appointment makes for a cheap language tutor or city guide. You can pick up some colloquial phrases here.
Find out 2–3 things a country/city is known for and immerse yourself to get in touch with the local culture and meet locals. (See my travel destinations)
Go to tourist destination bars to meet people (ie Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca)
For a more authentic experience, go to the 2nd or 3rd most popular city. This works best in first world countries due to modern conveniences and availability of English.
Use BlaBlaCar to carpool between nearby cities for cheap and meet locals.
Those countries with harder visa requirements, though initially a hassle and more expensive in time and money to enter, just means it’s less touristy of a place, thus more authentic and affordable.
Although the super touristy areas (Old Town of Tallinn) are inauthentic, you can easily meet traveler’s there, especially solo travelers during the day as most people there are tourists.
Going to a city during the warmest/driest months are also going to be its most touristy months (ie more expensive flights, hotels, crowded restaurants, bars, etc.). Going during offseason will be the reverse, but some attractions may not be open (ie pool parties during winter/rainy season).
If Selina exists in the city you’re at, it’s a good place to work from and meet people. They also throw regular events.
If public drinking is allowed, this means that more people will be drinking under the night sky than under a nightclub roof. This increases the occurrences of meeting people.
If near water, look for events on boats (boat party or happy hours)
Signing up for a grocery store card is an easy way to save money, but only if you’ll be there for longer than a month
3-Hour Quick Daytime Activities:
Many times you will wake up and not have plans, nor want to make plans. The following list are easy-to-do things on any day of the week without any advanced planning:
Go to a cafe, coworking spot, library, Selina
Go to tourist information center ‘travel agency’, ‘tour agency’, and ‘tourist info center’ to find activities/day trips
Explore a popular neighborhood (just go to the main street and start walking)
Common activities: hop-on/off bus, zoo, theme parks, beach, parks, walking tour
Go to shopping centers or markets
Go to a bookstore
Check out college areas (usually, you’ll find events or cool hangout spots)
Play basketball (or find any other hobby of yours)
Check Facebook Events
Yoga or meditation class
Going to a hotel lobby is an option to spontaneously meet other travelers
Hang out at a popular hostel’s pool (or at a regular pool)
Are you location-independent or a digital nomad traveling the world like me? Tell me in the suggestions where you’re at right now. Let’s connect! Or, share a tip. While in Kiev, Ukraine, I just learned of the awesome BlaBlaCar app. #sharemore
Almost 1,000 nights in Airbnbs. This sums up a lot of what Danny is – nomad, minimalist, entrepreneur, Superhost. He\'s also an Author of three books, Airbnb employee #700, and Airbnb property manager. Danny has visited 33 countries and 57 cities. Follow his journey on Instagram @dannybooboo0
You can judge a book by its cover. There are two types of authors: lazy and not lazy. Follow the 15 steps and you’re guaranteed to have, at minimum, a professional book you’d be proud to show your parents and friends.