Travel to a foreign country and not meet there with local residents is a real crime.
Locals are the best guides
Locals know best where are the most unusual sites in their city or region. If you get to know people that have lived all their life where have you been for a few days, you will learn about the country more than any professional guide.
Usually, tourist always lead to the same sites and telling the same stories. Remember at least our local beaches and resort towns. No one local ever goes to the place where tourists gather. The best beaches, places for picnics and recreation remain inaccessible to visitors.
Absence of overpayments for food and souvenirs
What seller, guide or restaurateur doesn’t want to make money on naive tourists? If you have a camera on your neck, you speak with an accent and don’t know well the prices, down the drain.
In addition, in tourist areas, as a rule, the prices by default are two, if not three times more than in the rest. And here acquaintance with the locals will be very helpful. They will show where best to shop and dine, and where to go for souvenirs.
Saving on transport and overnight
If you prefer budget travel, the locals are your lifesaver. They can offer you a free night stay at home or find accommodation for a symbolic price. Yes, and still nobody canceled couchsurfing! You can also move by hitchhiking, getting acquainted with nice people, learning their stories and saving on transportation costs.
Immersion into the local flavor
To learn a new country or city is impossible without knowing how its people live, how their life is arranged, where they spend their free time. The historical reference from the guide is good, but it’s not enough. Getting acquainted with the city only by dates, landmarks, and monuments, you see its past, but you don’t catch the present at all.
If you are studying the language of the country you are planning to go to, this is the ideal way to practice: improve pronunciation, learn to understand fluent speech, refill vocabulary. And for this, you need to communicate with the locals. And the more, the better. Even a week of this practice will certainly bear fruit.