Seven Tips for That Perfect City Break
Whether it’s a last minute break or a well-planned use of your holiday allowance, a city break is a great way to see some of the classic cities of the world. The only problem is that with just a few days to make the most of a destination, the pressure is on to do everything, see everything and not miss a thing! 🙂
Here are a few tips on making a city break work best for you.
City Break Tips
1. Decide Where You Absolutely Have To Visit in Advance
Grand Palace Bangkok
You’re not going to be able to fit everything in, so do some research and choose the places you really want to see before you go.
Find out where they are, whether they are easy to get to on public transport, and the best times to visit. Plan out an itinerary – even if you really don’t like the idea of a timetable, you can at least plan in a few essential must-sees and then fit in the rest of your city break around those.
2. Check Opening Times and Exhibitions
The Louvre Pyramid
This is vital in countries such as Italy or Spain, where many of the city’s attractions and top museums are closed on Mondays, or if you are going to a famous art gallery to see a specific collection. Galleries loan famous works to each other frequently. For example; The Girl with the Pearl Earring was on a tour around America and Europe for most of 2013, so if you wanted to see it in its usual home in Amsterdam, you would have been very disappointed!
Book your entry tickets in advance, so you won’t have to waste your time waiting in queues for popular attractions like The Louvre or the Vatican Museums. Plan to arrive early to avoid the bus-loads of tours. Most major tourist attractions allow you to book online these days, and many with added discounts as well.
3. Save Some Money
For the several years, getting local currency for your destination is easiest by way of ATM’s. They are everywhere now and in most cases, will give you the best exchange rates as well. We only use credits when traveling when we absolutely have to, to avoid the added fees credit card companies hit you with!
As well, check with your local bank, as many major institutions have reciprocal agreements with other foreign banks. If so, there’s no fee for using the ATM with a partner bank, which is great! 🙂
Another tip is to take your trip midweek, making the most of cheaper flights and better room rates. If you’re going to Spain for example, it’s also worth knowing that most eateries in Barcelona and Madrid offer fantastic value, fixed-price weekday lunch menus that aren’t available at weekends.
4. Try the Local Food
Enjoying the Local Food in Old Delhi India!
Talking of food – a city break is a fantastic opportunity to try new things, including the local cuisine. If you’re fussy about your food choices, take a good guidebook with you so that you don’t have to ask the waiting staff what’s in every dish, or take a chance on a bustling street cafe.
Ask the locals for advice about the best places to eat; the hotel staff should be reliable people to ask about hidden gems and great value restaurants to try.
On our last trip to India, we found Tripadvisor to be very helpful in selecting popular eateries and local hidden gems.
5. Take a City Tour
The Hop On Hop Off Tour Bus in Sydney Australia!
If you are pressed for time, check out the local hop on hop off city tours. We always enjoy taking this tour when traveling to larger cities. They’re a great way to get acquainted with the city you’re visiting and have the flexibility to allow you to get on and off at your leisure.
As well, check out the many excellent walking tours and bike tours available and which have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Eco-friendly tours are excellent and very affordable as well! You can see places you might not other wise have found out about, get a feel for a city’s history and not have to worry about getting hopelessly lost at the same time.
6. Travel Like the Locals
Enjoying Saigon Vietnam on Scooters!
When you are only in a city for a short break, the hassle of car hire can be more bother than it’s actually worth. The beauty of most major cities is that they usually have well-developed public transport systems – so why not take some time out from sitting behind the wheel and let the tram, subway or bus network ferry you around?
In many cities you can also buy reasonably-priced unlimited transport passes that save you the hassle of finding fares and buying tickets for separate journeys, and some of them also give you free entry to some of the city’s main attractions, which is an even bigger bonus.
7. Chill Out
Swimming at Los Barriles Beach Baja Mexico
Remember, you’re supposed to be on holiday, and you won’t fit the whole city into a few days, so make sure you give yourself some down time and don’t spend all your time rushing from one attraction to another. Take the time to appreciate the quieter side of life in a city, find a green space if the weather is nice and wander around the park, or simply spend some time people-watching at a local café.
Sometimes, doing nothing is the perfect way to while away an hour or so while you recharge your batteries for the next adventure…
I hope you enjoyed reading this Guest Post on City Break Tips.
Have you any Special Tips for those planning a visit to a Foreign City?
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