The Best Way to Get to Know a New City
Getting to travel the world is a life changing experience. Each new city is a chance to explore a new culture, cuisine and landscape.
For a global traveler, the way that you explore a new place, how you get to know it and the unique ways to see the city can be as big a part of the adventure as where you choose to go.
To help inspire the ways that you pace, ponder and view the panoramas of a new city, we’ve selected five unique ways from foot to flight and from big picture to personal touches to see a new city.
Hire a helicopter to tour the sights
Starting with the big picture, why not hire a helicopter to take you on a tour of the local landmarks? Taking in the view of a brand new city by air allows you to get to grips with the scale of a place.
Helicopter tours are, for instance, extremely popular in the UK for visitors who want explore the vastness of London, with its many notable landmarks from Buckingham Palace to the London Eye, but also those who want to take day trips to see more traditional country locations, such as Stonehenge or the many English manor houses.
If you are travelling with friends or use backpacker sites to find travel buddies, then why not share the cost, and memories, of an amazing helicopter tour of the city.
See how far a day pass will take you
As most backpackers and travellers are on a strict budget, getting the most for your money is of prime importance. An affordable and interesting way to see what a new city is by buying a day or week travel pass.
Most towns and cities will have details at tourist information on travel passes to suit the time you have there. Not only that, you’ll be able to get a map of the area that shows how far your pass can take you on buses, trams and trains.
To get to know a new city, pick up your pass then take the next bus to the end of the line and see what’s there. Then pick an opposite point on the map and see how to get there by tram. Part of the fun of travel is how you get there. With a week or day pass you can even stop off on the way if a sight or shop catches your eye!
Also, check discount sites like VoucherBin.co.uk for further discounts on everything from attractions to accommodation while you’re away.
Stay with a local and see their city
By using services like AirBnB or Be My Guest, you can get the most “real” experience of life in a new place. Again, you can use traveller forums, like Fodors, to find those with spare rooms or beds who are willing to take in trusted travellers.
Chances are that if someone is willing to let you stay in their home then you might be able to get them to take you out too. Ask them to show you their favourite places or advise you on where to eat and what sights are worth seeing.
Of course, remember to be gracious about this and try to offer something back. Check out local customs ahead of time if need be and suggest preparing a meal for them. There’s nothing quite like eating together to bond people, its a shared experience that we can all partake in.
Use or rent a bike to cycle further
For those on shorter visits, hopping from village to city to town, there are probably numerous ways to make the most of public transport. If you want to avoid a crowded bus or train, then rent a bicycle.
Similar to buying a day pass, travelling by bike offers you the chance to start and stop your journey when you want.
Create your own food and drink tour
For the drink and food-lovers, tasting your way around a city might just be your new favourite way to tour.
Start by picking three to five places that you want to eat at. This can include markets full of stalls, well reviewed restaurants, little holes in the wall that you’ve heard are good or quintessential drinking spots.
Then map yourself a route between each of them. Start with your breakfast stop, see what you discover on your way to lunch, taking the opportunity to follow your whims.
By the time you’ve journeyed between each spot you’ll be ready for a snack or a drink. Simple and enjoyable.