There’s no such thing as a perfect getaway, but there is still a pressure that accompanies your vacation. While planning your next escape, keep these things in mind. You will arrive prepared and ready for whatever your idea of “perfect” is!
1. Decide what kind of trip you want
What are you looking for? Do you need to relax? Do you want to culture yourself? Are you there just to eat, eat, eat? The expectations you have for the trip will determine the activities you plan, the area in which you stay, and even the clothes that you pack.
2. Learn the layout of the city
Location, location, location. Knowing what type of vacation you want will determine where you stay. Are you looking for nightlife? Consider the young, hip areas. Do you need some downtime? Stay far away from said young, hip areas. Are you planning on visiting a lot of cultural sites and museums? Place yourself close to the main ones.
3. Consider a walking tour (yeah, really)
A walking tour on your first morning in a city is an excellent way to learn the lay of a place (and a little history). True, guides can get kickbacks for sending you to certain restaurants, etc., but so can the hotel concierge or even the owner of the apartment you rent on Air B n B. Offer to take the guide out to lunch or for a drink and he or she will probably recommend a place that they personally love.
4. Account for transport expenses (and time)
Getting around a city can be expensive. When planning your trip, take this into account! If you are planning on saving some money by using public transport, it’s not a bad idea to learn the city’s metro and/or bus systems before you arrive. And by “learn,” I mean “download a few pics to your iPhone” of the routes near your neighborhood.
5. Work around the “must-sees”
The museums you must see, the places you simply must eat . . . these will nearly all operate on a certain time schedule or be closed on certain days. Know this ahead of time. You don’t want to miss seeing something because of poor planning!
That being said, get to know neighborhoods, not attractions. (See #8).
6. Factor in wait time
Remember that a trip to any major tourist attraction is exhausting: even just getting there can be daunting, and if it’s a popular attraction, there WILL be a wait. Factor this in, my friends.
Are you buying your tickets online? Awesome. But keep in mind that even the pre-purchased ticket line can be a looooong wait. See #Paris #MuseeDorsay.
7. Pencil in down time
We have the best of intentions when jam-packing our activities into the short time we have in a city, but be realistic. You need your rest! Don’t be a cranky tourist.
8. Leave room for exploring
A schedule packed from sun-up to sun-down with activities? That’s alright . . . for a day or two. But what about the side streets? The adorable boutiques? The street vendor whose goods you simply must sample? These are the things that make a trip memorable. Leave room for them! Go explore. Get lost. Get really, really lost.
9. Leave room (in your suitcase) for shopping
Speaking of leaving room . . . leave room in your suitcase for all those trinkets you’ll pick up. And when considering trinkets and souvenirs, think outside of the box: you might not use that bag that has LONDON LONDON LONDON written all over it, but you will wear that scarf you bought, or that small bottom of perfume, or those earrings . . .
10. Come with no expectations
Expectation is the root of all disappointment. Come to a new place with an open mind. Be yourself. Be ready to learn, not to judge. And enjoy this time in your life and this new place.