How many times have you visited a new city and just had no clue what to do? Although new destinations can be exciting, many times you may feel overwhelmed by your choices. What attractions are “must sees?” Where are the best places to dine? How should you travel around the city? Here are some tips to get more pleasure from your visit.
- When you first arrive, use the first few hours to savor your surroundings. Take note of your first impressions and keep an open mind. Try to really enjoy being a tourist. If possible, take a two to three hour bus tour to learn where things are and where you would like to return. Or you might even ride the public bus to the end of the line. You will get an overview of the city and end up in surprising destinations. Don’t be shy about asking the locals to point out landmarks or best restaurants. Most will be happy to help and you may be led to some unexpected great places.
- Study all the glossy magazines and brochures found in your hotel and pick up all the brochures from guest services. Talk to the concierge and bellman for great sources of information. They can often direct you to places you would otherwise never see, such as local sporting events or special performances. Often these events will be nothing like the ones you see at home.
- Reading the area’s local newspaper can tell you more about a place than you can imagine. They are often a source for coupons that can save you money on restaurants and attractions. You can also check out the current events schedule. Don’t forget to stop by the local bookstore. This is one of the best ways to find out the interests of the locals.
- Finally, make sure to visit a local fast food chain, such as McDonalds. This may sound like an odd tip, but it is an inexpensive meal with a priceless way to learn more about the community. It is amazing how the menu changes by destination, especially when traveling abroad. Not only will it be sprinkled with local cuisine, but the menu is often written in another language. This is also a wonderful place for people watching. You will find that a little time here will give you a strange sense of the strange and familiar.
So the next time you travel, be open to every detail of new experiences. When you spend time in a new place where practically everything you see and experience is new, you will create memories that you will treasure forever. And when you return home to your familiar routines, you will have a fresh perspective on life and culture. Go out and experience the new and different. It’s always a good time to travel.