If you'd have asked me not very long ago my preferred style of travel? I'd have said I like to go local. And I'm far from alone. In food and travel alike, industry experts and Instagram tastemakers have decided: It's the only valid way to see and taste the world.
But it's getting old. We've wrung the geographical significance out of "local" so that it exists more as a marketing buzzword. Hospitality companies trot it out to humanize their properties and to assure post-recession customers that they're still supporting the little guy. On menus (or even in McDonald's ads) it implies: "This item was grown/produced by industrious area residents who put their hearts into this specifically for you to enjoy, and by the way, they're friendly and you could totally talk to them about your shared appreciation of the earth, whether they're scrappy young bearded hipster-types or grizzled, oak-sturdy farmers with wise old eyes."
As opposed to: "This item came off the back of a Sysco truck."
In travel, the same attitudes prevail. No longer is it cosmopolitan to simply enjoy a place, to stay in a three- or four-star hotel, book a few guided tours, hit the museums, get tickets to a show, and make reservations at top-rated restaurants. No, that is traveling like a tourist, so gauche. To truly have a worthwhile experience, you must travel like a local -- go to the places locals go and eat at the places locals eat. You must stay at the places locals might stay if they didn't already live there -- maybe at a hostel or at someone's home via Airbnb, where you're treated as a short-term exchange student.