Touring like a Local
You will quickly see that this article is NOT going to be one that gives you tips related to touring like a local when visiting a foreign Country. Instead it is going to be addressing this whole notion that somehow staying in someone's personal home (i.e., AirBnb) while traveling makes you more of a local than the tourists opting to stay in comfortable hotels and resorts.
We hear this idea all the time, "I want to stay in an AirBnB so I can travel more like a local." That frankly is a bunch of hooey...pardon my language. Its hooey for the following reasons: First, you are not staying or living like a local if you are not getting up everyday at a time that you would need to in order to commute to your place of employment...like locals do. Second, You are not living or touring like a local until you pay bills every month like the locals do (like the water and electric bill that you just ran up). And third, You are not living or touring like a local if you are not shopping on a regular basis for groceries and home necessities at the actual places locals do, which may in all actuality not be that exciting.
When someone stays in some AirBnB, all you are doing is staying in something that has no amenities, no services, no anything other than a bed, kitchen, living room and bathroom. And staying in someone else's bed is not the same as coming home to that house every night after work, cooking some quick meal (because you are tired from work), maybe grabbing some quick television, before going back to bed to start the cycle all over again. If you did that, then you might get a glimpse into what it might be like to stay like a local.
But those that think staying in someone else's home via AirBnB is somehow really cool because you are acting like a local are the same ones getting up and going out for breakfast where anyone (including the tourist staying in the nicer hotel) can eat. They are the same ones eating all of their meals out...like normal tourists do. And they are the same ones that are then going to see all of the sites that other hotel-staying tourists are also seeing.
So in reality all someone is doing is choosing to forego their own safety and nice amenities, daily housecleaning services and the benefit of a local concierge all for the ability to sleep in someone's personal bed (which who knows if it was really cleaned before you arrived). And let's be honest, telling someone you chose an AirBnB over a nicer hotel solely because you wanted to experience what locals experience is not being 100% truthful. What you really should be telling everyone is that staying in an AirBnB was the cheaper route to go and "living like a local" is just a false way of glamouring it up a bit.
Now before we end this little article, we should contrast that of staying in a nice luxury villa vs someone's apartment above the local grocer. Those that stay in luxury villas usually go through companies that have vetted each villa to insure its safer and has been cleaned and everything is in working order. Those same travelers usually will hire chefs and pay for cleaning services so their stay is NOT like living like a local. They have services that will deliver groceries (if needed. Because who wants to live like they do at home while they are on VACATION?? They choose the luxury villa because it has the space they need for the size of their traveling party.
So the next time you hear someone bragging about their wonderful AirBnB and acting like their experience was more genuine, ask them if they cooked all of their meals in that kitchen, or stayed in at night watching TV or got up early every morning to take the commuter train to work. My guess...they didn't.