Cindy Novotny

Act Local and Live Global!


The beauty of my job is that I get to travel the world and experience life as a local.  Although I stay in some of the most incredible hotels around the globe, I always ask the locals what they do for fun, what the best food to eat is, and where they go for entertainment after work so that I can get the full experience myself.  This week while working in Marrakech we wandered around the Medina, shopped in the markets and enjoyed watching the snake charmers in the square.

One evening we went to El Fenn’s rooftop bar which is the spot to be at sunset.  Magnificent views and cocktails to celebrate the end of a perfect day.  As the sunset became the most amazing backdrop to our evening we spent time talking to local Moroccans about life in Marrakech.  Some of the tips they gave can apply to any bustling city.  So, as you travel around the world remember these do’s and don’ts and enjoy the local life!


·  Always embrace the spirit of the destination looking for hidden paths and doorways

·  Sip the local tea (in Marrakech the mint tea) while listening to the local music or call to prayer

·  Learn to ‘haggle’ with the shopkeepers but always be fair

·  Get lost (with a map) and don’t stick to such strict itineraries

·  Know the local pricing – how much you should tip (or not), how much a guide or a taxi               costs before you start out

·  Mind your manners but portray a confident approach

·  Take in a local treatment at a spa (my favorite) – don’t always go with the normal Swedish         Massage

·  Talk to the elders in the community – hear their stories and pay attention to old customs

·  Travel off season to enjoy the destination without the crowds


·  Stay on your phone while missing out on the experience

·  Check your emails until the end of the day

·  Don’t let the ‘hawkers’ make you nervous – just stay focused and keep moving

·  Don’t stress that you can’t see your local news

·  Don’t dress too casual – blend in

·  Ignore local laws and customs

After spending time at El Fenn Rooftop, I heard so many great stories.  The hotel is owned by Richard Branson’s sister, Madonna had her birthday party there and much more.  All the tales led to great conversations that night at dinner.  What a difference it makes to enjoy your journey and live the great life of the ‘road warrior.’