City breaks can be a great way to experience new places quickly and be a quick refresh, giving you a time-out from your usual routine. Typically, city breaks last a few days and are ideal for those short on time or just want a quick trip away.
The beauty of city breaks is you get to pack as much into your stay and experience life in a new city before heading back home, meaning you get to do all the fun things and leave the humdrum behind.
However, as these are quick visits to somewhere new, it goes without saying that you need to be as organised as possible to get the most from your trip. The last thing you want to do is to waste your time and not do everything.
This post looks at how you can maximise your city break regardless of where you are going or how long you are going to be there.
Book Centralised Accommodation
One of the best ways to get the most from your visit is to ensure you stay somewhere central or as central as you can manage. Typically, this will mean your accommodation is more costly, but it can allow you to save time and money on travel and put you in the best place to get to where you need to be.
You need to balance the time you will save on travel against the cost; sure, a hotel on the city’s outskirts might be much cheaper, but if it’s taking you an hour to get to and from your accommodation each day, that’s just wasted time. If you value your time and want to pack more things in, booking central is well worth the extra expense.
Book Tickets Ahead of Time
The last thing you want is to get all the way to your destination only to find out you can’t gain access to the attractions you want to visit due to them not having any tickets or being unable to take walk-ins.
As much as possible, book in advance for those places you really want to see and then plan your trip around them. This will give you a better idea of what you will be doing, how your days will look, and how much time around these activities you have to explore and find other things to do. If there isn’t anything to desperately want to visit, then this won’t matter. Still, for something like theatre shows, popular restaurants, or attractions, it is worth booking before you arrive to avoid disappointment.
Bookmark Places To See
Even if you’re not booking places ahead of time or you aren’t convinced you want to pay certain areas a visit, it can be a good idea to bookmark places that could be of interest or as backups if your plans need to change at the last minute. For increased useability, track these bookmarks on Google Maps, which will give you places to check out in the local area. Read reviews and blogs of those who live in or frequently visit the city you will be in and add must-see places to Google Maps or locations you will be in so you can get suggestions, recommendations, and directions from Google Maps.
Top Tip: Download Google Maps to help you navigate around the city in the event you don’t have a good signal or connection in certain areas.
Many popular tourist cities worldwide have passes you can purchase to help you save money on entrance fees and admissions. Not only will this guarantee you admission, but you might even be able to jump the queues to avoid waiting for entry. In some cases, these passes can also include travel on public transport. The London Pass, for example, allows you to visit around 90 attractions in London and can be purchased in various packages for a set number of days and includes many places tourists visit regularly. If you buy your London Pass with an Oyster Card, you can use public transport alongside your pass, while the New York Pass allows you to save up to 50% on entrance fees for 100 attractions and gives you access to a one-day hop-hop-off bus, too.
Allow Yourself Time
While you need to plan your trip well, you shouldn’t over plan your days so you’re not experiencing the city itself but rather running from attraction to attraction. There is more to see by simply taking your time and ambling around. Book your must-do places to visit, then allow yourself time to explore and relax and take everything in thoroughly. You never know; you might even have a better time!
Use Luggage Drops
If your travel options are at awkward times or you have a full day between hotel checkout and boarding a flight or a train, you can find luggage storage options in many cities. For example, if you are travelling to Seattle, for instance, you can find lockers seattle for both train and travel and flying so you can check in your luggage and be free to explore without hauling it around with you.
Take A Tour
A bus tour or a walking tour can help you find hidden gems you might not know about or uncover great places to come back to to eat or have a drink. Typically, city tours are aimed at people who have no knowledge of the city they are in and will take on a trip around predetermined routes based on the type of tour. From bus tours going through the most famous sights in the city to walking tours around popular filming locations for movies and TV, or even haunted tours after dark to explore the supernatural element of the city. If you really want to see more and learn more about where you are, a tour is an excellent thing to do during your trip.
Live Like A Local
If you want a more authentic trip and you want to experience it as the locals do, then you need to do your research first. Try couch surfing or home swaps for accommodation options that will get you up close and personal with the things the locals will experience daily, or check out blogs and read reviews to avoid the more tourist-centric options and head off the beaten track.
Hand Luggage Only
This will only be a flying visit, so the last you want to do is drag around a large, heavy suitcase with you or check in and hold luggage if you’re flying. Pack light, take hand luggage only, and reap the benefits of cheaper travel, easier navigation without suitcases, and an altogether better experience as there isn’t a lot of packing and unpacking to do.
Be An Early Bird
Forget lying in and taking a leisurely approach to your trip. This is a quick visit, and the early bird gets the worm, as they say. If you’re after a relaxing experience, then don’t book a city break and book a spa. Get up and get out and pound the pavement to enjoy the city before the hustle and bustle, or stay up late to experience the nightlife. Leave sleeping for the way home and squeeze as much daytime and even nighttime fun out of this trip.
City breaks are designed to be a few days long and should be packed full of fun and activities to help you explore your destination and get to know the city you are in. From pre-booking your must-see attractions to exploring on foot and via public transport, there are many ways you can get the most from a city break; these tips only scratch the surface.