Once you’ve chosen the destination of your next adventure, the next big decisions you’ll make are about what you’ll do once you arrive. While it might be easier to choose experiences directed at tourists, you might want to consider a different route.

No matter where you end up, immersing yourself in the culture of your destination is a great way to get an authentic travel experience. From dabbling in a new a language or volunteering, to cooking classes and traditional activities, truly experience the culture of your destination through the locals and their unique customs.

1. Learning a New Language

One of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in a culture is by learning to communicate with the local people in their native tongue. Not only will you be challenging yourself, you’ll be showing respect to the people of the country you’re visiting.

Before you head out on your trip, research some apps that can help you start to learn the basics of the language. With a growing foundation of how to speak to the locals, you’ll be able to pick up new words and common phrases faster. Soon, you’ll be connecting and communicating with the locals in no time.

2. Cooking Classes

A quality that countries all around the world have in common is supporting local foods and cooking traditions. One way to get to know the local culture is by trying foods that are native to the country.

If you want to fully immerse yourself in their culture, sign up for cooking classes. You can learn more about local foods, and how to combine them to make traditional dishes using recipes you can bring home with you.

3. Traditional Activities

From sports to spiritual ceremonies or bustling marketplaces to moments of peace and serenity, traditional activities are a doorway into cultural immersion.

Before heading out on your trip, look up what activities are popular in the country you’re visiting. Determine what traditional activities you’re interested in, and how you can get involved.

By choosing an activity you like, you’ll have fun while also meeting the people of the country you’re visiting and truly immersing yourself in their culture.

4. Volunteering

Really get to know the people of the place you’re visiting by volunteering with and for them. You’ll be able to make new acquaintances while also giving back to the community and culture you’re discovering.

Volunteering is another great way to immerse yourself in a new culture. By taking yourself off the beaten path, you’ll be able to truly discover the places and things that mean a lot in the culture you’re exploring.

You’ll give yourself a chance to flex your new language skills, while helping to make a difference in the daily lives of the culture you’re immersing yourself in.

Go Beyond “Just Visiting”

Next time you’re deciding where you want to travel, or even if you’ve picked your next destination, try to push yourself beyond just visiting.

Do your research before you take off, and find ways you can really immerse yourself in, and get to know the local culture.