Do you find yourself unsure of where to go or what to do when you travel? Do you admire other peoples adventures, holidays and vacations but the thought of traveling seems too difficult or like too much trouble to you? Here are some tips for having fun exploring a new city, or your own city.
Decide what it is you want to do. Do you want to go to the beach? Do you plan to get in the water? Do you want to visit an amusement park? Do you want to tour some museums? Do you want to go to a festival? Do you want to see holiday lights or a holiday show? Do you want to go wine tasting? Do you want your family to see something they’ve never seen or experienced before? Are you flexible and open to new ideas, there are travel sites that offer great last minute bargains on flights and hotel packages? Try Travelzoo or Vacations To Go for last minute cruise packages.
Once you know what it is you want to do, now you have to decide how you want to get there. Is driving your only option? If so, how far are you willing to drive? Is there someplace you can visit that’s closer that you haven’t considered? Usually I limit day trips to 1-2 hours of driving each way. Extended weekend trips I am willing to drive a little further, like 5-6 hours. 12 hours of driving or more, I need to be traveling for a week or longer and have stops planned along the way, or fly.
Does your Is there a cheap flight? Are you planning long enough in advance to get prices on tickets? Can you drive a little further to a major airport hub that might have cheaper flights, after factoring the cost of parking and inconvenience to others traveling with you? I use the word inconvenience as you might be traveling with small children.
Do some research before you get there. Once you know it is what you want to do and where you want to go, look at their main tourism website and check out their listing of events and activities. Does the city offer any free or inexpensive walking tours? These are often fun and interesting for all ages and provide a historical viewpoint. Take note of the activities or events that you want to do and the date and times. Only select a couple per day to allow for some flexibility and adventure. Now that you have your building blocks you are ready for some fun.
Cultural events are a great way to explore a cities culture and history. Most cities were also settled by diverse immigrants and their cultural events and heritage reflect their diversity. Cultural events are a great way to try new food dishes, and if your lucky see beautiful costumes and entertainment that reflects their heritage.
If your a foodie, agricultural areas usually have food themed events, for example try the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, CA or the Mandarin Festival in Placer County. These events usually have great foods to try and lots of booths to visit. They usually have live bands and entertainment, check out the schedule of events when you arrive. These are great family events.
Are there state parks, national parks, points of interest or national phenomena nearby or on they way to where you are visiting? Consider travel time and distance when adding these to your schedule.
Keep and open mind. Be open to trying new things. Does a particularly ethnic restaurant seem very busy, they must have good food? Do you usually pass on breakfast? Maybe this is the time to have a pasty or donut for breakfast. Is the region known for a specific food item, like artichokes, sea food, or tomatoes? This would be the good time and place to try a new dish with the local foods.
Wear a good pair of walking shoes. We try to walk wherever we go. I usually bring tennis shoes and hiking shoes, and comfortable walking sandals. Walk along the walking trails, they were put there for a reason. They are usually scenic and lead to other great places. Are there hiking trails nearby, these are great for exploring? There is usually a map at the entrance, does the trail lead to the same direction that you were headed.
Make reservations when necessary. Do you have your heart set on a specific event or experience? Make sure you make a Reservation so you are not set up for disappointment. If you headed to New York and have your heart set on a specific show, you better get your tickets in advance. Same advice for visiting Alcatraz Island. These are a couple examples, but if you know 100% that you are designing a trip around a specific event, get your tickets in advance.
Do you know you want to eat at a specific restaurant at a specific time? Is it a special occasion for you or any member in your party, and you want to make sure they are going to be treated to a special dinner? Even if its pizza at the most popular pizza restaurant in town, its a good idea to make a reservation. Is it a holiday weekend, like New Years or Valentine’s Day? You’ll want to make sure you have a reservation at a restaurant with good reviews at a price point you can afford. You’ll look like a seasoned pro. Also, spa treatments are another activity that you will want to have reserved in advance. Finding no availability at your favorite spa can be a major disappointment on your trip, if you were looking forward to the activity.
Do some touristy stuff. Sometimes the touristy stuff is touristy because a lot of people like this activity. For example, riding on the top of a double decker open top bus in a busy city. These bus trips usually allow you to hop on and off and take you to all of the major landmarks or places of interest in a city. You can also snap great photographs without all of the traffic blocking your view.
Seek out what interests you. What are your hobbies or passions? Do you love skiing or snowboarding? Go to a city known for their great mountains like Vail, Park City or Lake Tahoe or explore a small city like Truckee, Mammoth, or Big Bear. Do you love wine tasting or cheeses? Vacation in Sonoma, Napa, Lodi, Amador or Jackson. Do you like to listen to live classical or jazz music? Go to Monterey, CA during their Classical or Jazz festival.
To make your trip easier, install the Uber or Lyft app before you go, and give it a try. Rides are inexpensive and can get you back to your hotel, or RV quickly when you are too tired or purchased something too heavy to carry.
For RVers, check out the local RV resorts for pricing and to see what amenities they offer. Finding an RV resort with things to do within walking distance is always my favorite idea. Read reviews and ask for recommendations on our favorite FB group or RV forum. Fellow RVers are always happy to share their favorite trip information. Make reservations if you have your heart set on a specific resort and know when you are going to be there. If you like to ninja camp or boondock, see if their is federal or BLM land nearby. If you have a tow vechicle no problem, but for those of us like me that don’t I like to walk, take uber or lift, or public transportation.
If you incorporate these tips and ideas when planning your next trip, the answer to the headline will be a fabulous fun adventurous time. Take the trip, explore and find a new adventure.
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