Arriving in a new city can sometimes be intimidating. There is so much going on, and chances are that you don’t know your way around. You end up spending so much of your time just trying not to get lost, that you don’t take the time to truly appreciate the city and your surroundings.
If you really want to get the most out of your visit, here are a few travel tips for exploring a new city.
Ditch the GPS
This may sound a little counter-intuitive, but hear us out. When you first arrive in a city, it is tempting to map out each place that you want to visit, and then to get exact directions on how to get there. We use the GPS systems on our phones to give us step by step directions, never allowing us to wander off track.
While this is great if you don’t want to get lost, sometimes getting lost is the best way to see a city. By learning to find your own way around, you can become better acquainted with the city, and discover some unexpected treasures.
Of course, if you find yourself in a bad area, it’s not a bad idea to have a GPS handy so you can make a quick exit. Other than that though, foregoing a GPS system will let you see the city in a whole new way.
Have Flexibility With Your Plan
Too many people visit a city with an itinerary in place. While it’s great to make sure that you see the things you want to see, you should allow for some spontaneity.
Let a friend guide you around, or hop on a bus tour to see what else the city has to offer. Ditch the map for a couple of hours and simply walk around the city, seeing what you come across.
There is always plenty to do and see in a city, and you’ll get more out of your trip if you give yourself permission to explore it all.
Go For The Bird’s Eye View
What better way to get a view of the city than from above? Sure, you can climb to the top of the tallest building and look around for a great view, by why not go up even higher?
Many cities offer tours via a plane, helicopter, or hot air balloon, and you can see the surrounding area like never before. For something extra adventurous, skydive.
Spend an hour taking a ride around the city, and get a sense of the city that you can’t from the ground. Most pilots are friendly, and more than happy to answer questions you may have about the city. If you want to brush up on your plane knowledge before you go, check out sites like A.E.R.O to learn more about plane parts.
If heights are not your thing, don’t worry. You can still get a great tour of the city from the ground by taking a bus tour. Most cities offer tourists a bus tour that will drive around the city and point out different landmarks and historical sites.
For people who want to learn about the history and culture of a city, and don’t want to find their own way around, a bus tour is a great option. The hosts are typically knowledgeable about the city, and can answer any questions about the landmarks you are seeing.
Have A Local Show You Around
The above aside, the best way to tour a city is by having someone who lives there show you around. While they may not know everything about the history of the city, they’ll be able to steer you towards great restaurants, cool attractions to check out, and which areas to avoid.
They can also tell you the quickest way to get around, and share with you those tips and tricks that only a local would know. So the next time you are heading out to a new city, check your Facebook friends list and see who you might know in the area.
More than likely they’d be happy to show you around for an afternoon, or at least offer you some advice for your trip.
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