If you don’t live in a big city, or don’t have much experience navigating around any town other than the one you live in, traveling to a big city can be intimidating and stressful. The most important piece of advice is to plan ahead.
4 Tips for the Perfect Big City Vacation
Everything is a little faster paced in a big city. While some people are able to easily adapt on the fly, most travelers will find some value in planning ahead. As you look forward to your next trip, here are some tips you’ll want to keep in the back of your mind.
1. Choose the Correct Timeframe
The first step is to choose the correct timeframe. While seasonality matters, this isn’t what we’re talking about. We’re talking about the length of the trip. In other words, are you going for a 48-hour weekend trip, a seven-day extended stay, or something in between?
Before choosing your timeframe, think about everything that the city has to offer and how much time you’ll need to experience the things you’re interested in seeing and doing. Take Barcelona as an example. Peppylocals says you really need to spend at least three full days in the city (not counting travel days) in order to get the full experience.
There’s nothing worse than leaving and realizing you didn’t get to see and do certain things. It’s highly encouraged that you research your travel destination in order to figure out how much time you really need.
2. Figure Out Transportation Ahead of Time
One of the more stressful aspects of traveling to a big city is figuring out how to get around. Between cabs, ride sharing services, buses, subways, rental cars, bicycles, a ferries, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.
The best piece of advice is to figure out transpiration ahead of time. There are plenty of travel blogs and online resources to help you understand how mass transit works, what it costs, and what the most cost-effective method is for you and your traveling companions.
3. Prioritize Safety
No matter how much you think you blend in, you’re probably going to look a bit out of place when you travel to a new city. Between your backpack/luggage, the constant use of your phone’s GPS, and that confused look on your face, people can spot you a mile away.
While most people are inherently good and won’t cause you any trouble, every city has bad apples who target unsuspecting travelers. Keeping this in mind, always be cognizant of your surroundings.
4. Don’t Over-Plan
Before embarking on your trip, you should grab a sheet of paper and divide it into three columns with a header at the top of each. These three columns should be labeled “Must See,” “Would Like to See,” and “Could be Cool.” You then categorize all of the different attractions, sites, restaurants, stores, etc. that you’re interested in.
While you should plan your days around the “Must See” items on your list, don’t stress out about the others. Leave your schedule open and play things by ear. If you get to experience some things in the other two columns, great! If you don’t, no problem! The key is to avoid over-planning.
Enjoy Your Travels
There’s a time and place for relaxing on the beach, hiking in national parks, driving through the countryside, and staying the night in a small town bed and breakfast. However, if you want to see some of the world’s historic landmarks, famous attractions, and historical sites, you’ll also need to expand your travel to include big cities. From New York City and San Francisco to Paris and Barcelona, there are plenty of adventures calling your name. Bon voyage!