Traveling to a new city for the first time can be daunting, especially if you’re on your own. You can get lost on the way to your accommodation, people can be rude or unwilling to lend a hand, and the real place can feel lackluster compared to the idea in your head.
However, there’s a simple solution to this problem. Every time you go to a new city, find the time to research about it first. You don’t have to go so deep that you learn the city’s history and the landmarks within it, although you can if that’s something that interests you.
The reason behind researching the place is that you will have a vague idea of what you can do there and how you can spend your time. Besides, you wouldn’t travel to a city and go through all that trouble of booking accommodations if the thought of being there isn’t appealing to you.
This is not to say that you need to make a completely detailed and intricate itinerary for your trip, but having a rough plan can go a long way toward making your vacation memorable. Here are some ways you can make any travel plans to a new city memorable and worth taking:
Eat at Popular Cafes and Restaurants
A quick search through the web will give you an idea about which food establishments and cafes you should visit while you’re in the city. You can take the recommendations and reviews of your fellow tourists who have gone there before you or ask the locals about their favorite restaurants.
Preparing a list of food establishments that you want to try can be a treat for your taste buds, especially because these aren’t something that you always have. Of course, you should steer clear of fast food joints that you can have anywhere and instead opt for local restaurants.
There’s nothing like spending the afternoon in a quaint little cafe, shaded from the setting sun with a retractable awning, and sipping coffee while watching people walk by. Coffee may seem too simple a commodity, but every place makes its coffee differently. This is why drinking local coffee is a nice way to get to know the city better.
Visit the Cultural Landmarks
Looking up the place online can also give you a preview of what cultural landmarks they have within and in the vicinity of the city center. This can be a great way to spend your time, especially if you’re fond of visiting landmarks such as statues, museums, or national parks.
There’s nothing wrong with acting like a tourist because in this case, you are. So go on the city tours, listen to what the guides have to say, and discover an unknown territory with no holds barred. If you want to be a tourist, then be the best tourist you can be to fully experience what the city can offer.
Besides, you might learn a thing or two that can add value to your life without you meaning to. Having random, trivial knowledge about the cities you visit can be an exciting thing to have. And take lots of pictures as souvenirs because this trip might be something you want to look back on in the future.
Experience the Local Scene
While you’re in the process of researching about the city, you might chance upon local festivals or celebrations that you can experience while you’re there. Or better yet, schedule your trip to coincide with the days of the festival if you want to really be there for it.
Another great way to experience the local scene is by finding out why most tourists visit the city. There might be a recreational activity known to only be found there or a specific art and music scene popular among your age group.
No matter what reason people have for flocking to that city, it can be worth knowing if only to experience it first-hand. It might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you’re missing out on because you were too focused on the destination and not the journey.
Get Lost in the City
After all that light research and planning, you should still save some room for spontaneity. Walk on the streets and go where your feet take you. You just might discover something that even a thorough online search can’t reveal because you have to see it with your own eyes.
There’s nothing wrong with getting lost in the city because that’s how many the best adventures begin. Of course, you should always be careful because you’re in an unfamiliar city, but be reckless enough to get out of your comfort zone and try new things.
Besides, as long as you have your phone and an internet connection, you won’t really be lost because you can search for directions. Or you can go the old-fashioned way and ask the locals about how you can return to your accommodation.
The key to making any trip memorable is flexibility. You have to be flexible enough to adjust your expectations and add some wiggle room to your plans. Find comfort in the uncertainty and let nature take its course; that way, you can make the most out of your trip to every new city.