If you’re planning to visit a new city, there are some things you can do to have an amazing and deep experience rather than just ticking off the touristy spots.
Have a look at this list:
- Stay with locals via couchsurfing or Airbnb. They might have some great tips on where to go (and how), what to see and where to eat – off the beaten path.
- If you don’t speak the local language, make sure you learn the basics, at least ‘hello’, ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘help’. Try Duolingo for free lessons.
- Do your research and find out in general what you’d like to do and see (and which areas to avoid), e.g. using a Lonely Planet, on TripAdvisor or Wikitravel.
- Don’t get too hooked up on the touristy things. See a few “main” things, then ditch your travel guide and just wander around… You’ll be amazed at the random adventures you’ll have! If distances are too far, try public transport or hire a bicycle (TripGo‘s your friend).
- Make sure you pack a backpack with a few essentials when you head out (e.g. umbrella, hat, sunscreen, bandaids, sunglasses, the address of where you’re staying, some cash)
- Go out to a local market, cafe or pub and talk to staff or a friendly stranger about the city, find out what they like about it and why and get some recommendations.
- Get a taste of the local cuisine, maybe even do a cooking course if time & budget permit.
- Take photos to visually document your experiences.
- Also keep a diary. Really, take a few minutes every evening and write down how your day was and add anything you’d like to remember. That way you can look back in a few years and recreate how you were feeling much better than just through photos.
- Keep smiling and enjoy getting to know the city!
And if you’re not traveling anytime soon – try these tips at home and get to know your city from a whole new angle.
Do you have any tips for traveling off the beaten path? Share them in the comments below!