Being in a new city, whether it is for a big move or just for a vacation, is very exciting. You probably want to start exploring the city straight away, but hopping on a city tour bus is not the best way to explore a city.
What is the point in looking at the biggest and best sights this new city has to offer from the inside of a bus? It is not only a waste of time but also a waste of money. Your best bet is to get actively involved in whatever this city has to offer. Combine your interest with the city’s offerings, and you will be able to explore a new city in a way that suits you.
However, knowing what to do and where to look can be difficult in a new place that you are not familiar with. Whilst every city is different and has slightly different things to offer, we have collated a list of travel tips that will help you when going on an adventure in a new city.
Consider this article your personal travel guide. It will walk you through the best ways to explore a city like a local. Here are the best tips to explore a new city:
Your accommodation is a key part of ensuring that you get the true local experience. While there are benefits to staying at a hotel, such as the luxury and comfort it affords, there is nothing like staying in an apartment rental. You can easily find rentals in the parts of the city that you’d most like to be close to through apps such as Airbnb.
Moreover, you have more exciting options and opportunities available when choosing your rental. For example, you could find a cottage in your favorite small town in England, or you could spend your time hanging out in a converted treehouse. The possibilities are endless and far more exciting than anything a hotel can offer!
It can be very easy to fall into the trap of only seeing the places recommended by Tripadvisor. However, these tourist spots are sometimes tourist traps and a waste of money.
Instead, we recommend looking for the hidden gems of the city. The places that the locals go are the places you want to go. If you can’t find what you are looking for online, ask around, and see what people enjoy. This is particularly useful when you are looking for places to eat, as the locals know all the best restaurants.
Social media can be extremely useful to explore a new city. For example, Facebook travel groups are great places for insider knowledge and great tips. Posting a question about the best places to go in a city on a travel page will inevitably lead to a whole bunch of people from that exact town commenting on their favorite places to go and things to do.
Alternatively, if you want an Instagram-worthy trip, use the platform by scrolling through the tagged pictures in the town you are in or use Pinterest to see the most aesthetically pleasing places around.
The culinary experience in a town is often what makes or breaks a visit. From that small coffee shop on the corner to the bigger restaurants with famous chefs, there are foodie experiences for everyone at every price point. Connecting to a city through its food is a great way to learn more about the locals and the history of the town.
For example, historical fishing ports generally have amazing seafood, whilst cities with large immigrant populations have food from all over the world for you to try, creating a multicultural culinary experience. If you want to make the experience more personal, you could always hire a personal chef.
Hiring a personal chef will afford you an intimate setting to enjoy with friends and family, while also getting a taste of the city. You can even take it one step further and partake in cooking classes in this new city. This is a great way to make your experience with food in the city interactive and more memorable.
Lots of travelers love to make an itinerary and hold on to it no matter what. However, this is not the best way to experience a new city. When you are in a new place that you are not too familiar with, spontaneity is key to making the most of your trip.
Even if you had planned on going on that walking tour at 2 P.M., if a more exciting opportunity arises, do not be afraid to go for this new plan. A lot of the time, travelers are scared and apprehensive about going off-plan, but in reality, this is how some of the best memories are made and the best people are met.
If you are visiting a city that your friends or family have visited before, ask them for recommendations. They will inevitably have done lots of things during their trip and they can tell you what to visit and what to avoid.
Travel tips from friends and family need to be cherished, as while those strangers you meet on your travels may give you suggestions, they do not know you as well. When friends and family give you suggestions, they do so with you specifically in mind. When you get a collection of ideas from the people who know you, you can create a pretty great trip.
Having some bigger activities lined up for your trip is a great way to ensure it is a memorable one. It doesn’t have to be jumping out of a plane, but if you are doing something that you love that you don’t usually get the opportunity to do, it will make it that much more special.
Entertainment-based activities are great for this sort of thing. Think about the big shows in Vegas or even just going to a music concert at a local venue. As long as it is something that you love and enjoy, book it. These are the kinds of things that you need to book in advance though, so keep that in mind if you are hoping to incorporate a big entertainment-based activity into your trip!
Ubers in a big city can be expensive, especially if everything that you want to do is spread out around the city. Luckily, most of the big cities have good public transport links which you should take advantage of when on a trip. Not only will it save you money, but the atmosphere is like no other.
For example, if they have a complicated and extensive waterway system, there might be boats that you can use. The key here is to think outside of the box, and even if it throws you out of your comfort zone, it will make the trip all the more memorable.
A lot of the time when we are on trips, we need to establish a budget to make sure we don't go overboard. In most cases, the expense of getting to the place is already substantial on your wallet, so you should try to save money where you can.
The best way to visit big cities on a budget is to seek out free activities because there are loads! You will likely be able to find a free walking tour that you can join or free entry to museums. If you look around online and come prepared, you will be sure to find some free activities in your city that will allow you to stay within budget!
If you have followed all of our tips to have the best possible time exploring a new city, you will want to remember it. There are many ways you can get souvenirs, from some pretty traditional ways to some more subjective and meaningful ways.
Taking pictures is a must for memory making, and pictures make a great souvenir. You do not need a big fancy camera to document the best parts of your trip, your phone camera will do just fine. If it was an extra special trip, you can even make a scrapbook and print out the pictures when you get home.
In addition to pictures, if you want more of a gimmick souvenir, going to a souvenir shop is an obvious but brilliant idea. Most big cities have souvenir shops on every corner and you can get anything from a silly magnet to a funny mug, or a bag with the city name plastered all over it. Although often tacky, they are also fun to collect.
Alternatively, if you are going on a longer trip and hitting up multiple cities a great way to collect souvenirs is to write yourself postcards along the way. At each city stop on your travels, get a postcard that you like that represents the place you are in, and write yourself a little message about how you are feeling, what you are doing, the people you have met, and then when you return home, you will have a heartfelt array of souvenirs waiting for you.