Africa & The Middle East | Inspiration

Beyond the tourist traps: How Trafalgar helps you feel connected to local culture

We all love to see the icons. You can’t go to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Everyone loves to wander through Central Park in New York City. And you have to check out La Sagrada Familia when visiting Barcelona. But when you’re travelling independently, it’s often too easy to just visit the tourist traps, without ever getting to the heart of the destination. If you really want to immerse yourself in the local culture, instead of just battling the crowds at Times Square or the Trevi Fountain, we’ve got you covered. 

When you travel with Trafalgar, you’ll go beyond the tourist attractions and meet the local people to get real insights into the culture and places you visit. You won’t have to spend hours researching and planning before your trip – we do it for you! – and you’ll have unique experiences that you just can’t get when travelling on your own. From our remarkable Make Travel Matter and Be My Guest experiences to our special Stays With Stories, here are all the ways you’ll connect with the local culture and make unforgettable memories on a Trafalgar trip. 

RELATED CONTENT: 7 immersive experiences you can only have on a Trafalgar trip

Trafalgar Be My Guest experience dinner in Italy

Make Travel Matter Experiences

Trafalgar believes responsible travel should leave a positive impact on the people and places we visit. We also want to bring you closer to the local culture and support the communities close to our hearts. So we introduced our Make Travel Matter (MTM) Experiences and are proud to say they are now offered on at least 63% of our tours

RELATED CONTENT: 9 incredible Make Travel Matter Experiences to do with Trafalgar

Our MTM Experiences are carefully chosen responsible travel experiences that support communities, wildlife and environments all over the world. They directly contribute to the UN Global Goals and are backed by industry experts. Plus, they’re only developed for Trafalgar and our family of brands, so you know these are experiences you just won’t find anywhere else. 

RELATED CONTENT: 7 ways to make your travels matter in Asia with Trafalgar

Peruvian woman demonstrating traditional weaving techniques

How you can Make Travel Matter with Trafalgar

Some of our enriching MTM experiences on our local culture tours include meeting Marta Cucchia and learning about ancient Italian hand-weaving traditions at Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzett in Perugia, Italy. You could meet the farmers of the Thanh Dong Organic Village in Hoi An, Vietnam and support their sustainable and organic farming practices. Or you could meet Stephen Yellowhawk and help to preserve Native American culture in the United States, through an evening of traditional music, dance, stories, and food. 

RELATED CONTENT: 7 ways you support local people and communities when you travel to Africa with Trafalgar

Support Tibetan refugees in Nepal, traditional weavers in Peru, or indigenous communities in South Africa. Help preserve traditional handicrafts in Japan and Cambodia, the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland, or indigenous cultures in Canada. Protect elephants in Thailand, panda bears in China, rhinos in Kenya, and tigers in India. Whether you experience southern hospitality in the Mississippi or the warm welcome of farmers in Costa Rica, you can make your travels truly matter all over the world with Trafalgar.

RELATED CONTENT: 6 ways to support locals in Latin America

Giants Causeway Ireland

Be My Guest Experiences

Over more than 70 years of travel, we’ve found that one of the best ways to experience the local culture is to connect through food. When you break bread with people and share their favourite foods, you get a real insight into their life, history, culture, and passions. We’ve also found that most of our guests want to connect with the local people they meet. They want to get to know their different ways of life and learn about their unique customs.

RELATED CONTENT: What makes Trafalgar’s Be My Guest experiences special?

So, 10 years ago, we introduced our revolutionary Be My Guest Experiences. Through these experiences, we connect with locals who are proud to invite our guests into their homes and share a home-cooked meal. As you dive into traditional dishes, you’ll get an invaluable insight into their culture and make a difference in their community. You might even learn a tasty recipe, a new cooking method, or a wonderful food ritual. Over a decade later, we’ve had the privilege of seeing thousands of people forge connections and enrich their world over good food and conversation. 

RELATED CONTENT: 9 Trafalgar Be My Guest experiences that celebrate cultural diversity

Trafalgar Be My Guest Experience fresh food in Italy

Where you could go with Trafalgar’s Be My Guest Experiences

With our Be My Guest (BMG) Experiences, you could dine in a French château, a Berber desert camp in Morocco, or a ryokan in Japan. Visit a Tamaki Māori village in New Zealand or a rural farm in Ireland. Meet a family of winemakers in their Tuscan villa and sample recipes that have been passed down for recipes.

Learn how to find bush tucker with Aboriginal Australians or break fry bread around a campfire with Native Americans in the United States. Taste homemade limoncello in Sorrento or savour traditional wine in Georgia. Harvest Inca corn in Peru or sit down to a true farm-to-table meal at O’o Farm in Maui, Hawaii.

From welcoming hosts and historic homes to time-honoured traditions and scrumptious food, our BMG experiences are one of the most remarkable ways to experience the local culture.

RELATED CONTENT: 8 locals you’ll connect with when you travel to Europe with Trafalgar

Hawaii farm

Stays With Stories

We know that accommodations can be so much more than just a place to sleep for the night. So we scoured the globe for the most incredible accommodations… And then introduced our amazing ‘Stays With Stories’ on our local culture tours. 

RELATED CONTENT: Stays with Stories: 5 Unique Accommodations in Europe

These exceptional overnight stays will have you meeting the locals, hearing fascinating stories, and learning about local history and traditions. You could stay in America’s oldest hotel, a remote Scottish retreat, or a luxurious glamping site in Tasmania. Walk in famous footsteps at Ashford Castle in Ireland or dine like royalty at Ruthin Castle in Wales

RELATED CONTENT: Stays with Stories: Seville’s Las Casas de la Juderia

Discover a hidden retreat of 15th-century Andalusian houses at Las Casas de la Juderia in Seville, Spain. Relax at the 17th-century Hotel Phoenix in Copenhagen, the regal former home of a colonel of the Royal Life Guards. Or stay at a gorgeous château in the Loire Valley in France. You’ll explore the same beautiful towers and halls once frequented by Louis XIII. If only the walls could talk!

With stunning design and hospitality and plenty of secrets to uncover, Trafalgar’s Stays With Stories are one of our favourite ways to experience the local culture on your trip.

RELATED CONTENT: Stays with Stories: Norway’s Hotel Geiranger

Trafalgar guests enjoying wine

Connect with local culture through Travel Directors & Local Specialists

Travel Directors

You’ll get your first glimpse into the local culture of the places you visit from your very own Travel Director. Trafalgar’s Travel Directors are true experts and incredibly passionate about the places you visit. They’ve spent years travelling and collected plenty of local secrets and hidden gems to enrich your journey. 

RELATED CONTENT: Travel Director Diaries: 24 hours in Norway with Lasse

In Scandinavia, you might meet Travel Director Lasse who has been exploring the Nordic region for over a decade. In Switzerland, Germany or Austria, you could meet Travel Director Ellen, who has spent almost 30 years as a Travel Director across Europe and now lives near Lake Maggiore. 

RELATED CONTENT: We spent 24 hours in Switzerland with Trafalgar Travel Director, Ellen

Or in Ireland, you could meet one of the Creegan’s! This wonderful Irish family has over 40 years of experience as Trafalgar Travel Directors. They currently have four family members hosting Trafalgar trips across Ireland. 

Lasse Trafalgar Travel Director

Local Specialists

RELATED CONTENT: Two generations of Travel Directors: Meet the Creegans

You’ll also meet expert Local Specialists in each place you visit, to get a one-of-a-kind insight. In Ireland, you could meet Oonagh and go foraging for wild produce along the Wild Atlantic Way. Or in Kenya, you could meet Dedan, a safari guide in the spectacular Masai Mara.

RELATED CONTENT: Meet Dedan, a Maasai safari guide for Trafalgar

As your Travel Director and Local Specialists go beyond the tourist traps and take you deeper into the communities and places you visit, you can’t but feel a special connection to the local culture.

What are your favourite cultural experiences you’ve had on a Trafalgar tour? Let us know in the comments below!

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