If you already read the post from last week, you know what I think about buying tickets and finding a suitable accommodation. Well, today I present to you the follow-up article about packing, sightseeing and basically all the fun things you do on a trip.
If you are like me, you are someone who likes to see as much as possible when on a holiday. For me it is actually not a real holiday, but more or less a trip of running, hiking and doing everything suggested by any tour guide, forum or blog I have read. Needless to say, this is not always manageable due to weather conditions and my companions, but most of the time I go back home quite content and if there is something that I missed doing I tell myself: “Next time! You have to have a reason to come back here”.
First thing I do when I figure out where I am going is checking TripAdvisor. It has become an instinct of mine to go online and look the top destinations and sights to see. Of course since TripAdvisor has this huge audience of people submitting reviews and scores online daily, you are kept up to date with everything that is worth doing when you are somewhere.
I also have this old-fashioned side of mine that involves buying a tour guide. This is one of the most thrilling things to do when going on a holiday apart from the holiday itself. I particularly love the tour guides by DK Eyewitnes and I have used them for many destinations. As any other travel guide they include information about different districts and interesting places to visit within this area. However, some of the features that I love about these travel guides are unique. To start off, they offer a sliced view of the most famous buildings in the city/ country and in this way you can see how the building is arranged with all of its corridors, floors and entrances. I particularly love this detailed view, since most tour guides will give you a picture from the outside (so you orientate yourself better) and if you are lucky you will get a shot from the inside as well. Although, that is very nice, it can barely give you a realistic idea what to expect when you go in and although it is always nice to be surprised about things, I like to know what to look for when I go somewhere.
Another cool part that is included in these travel guides is the ‘Survival Guide’ section. Here you are being guided through the means of transport, you are provided with visuals of the tickets for the subway and tram, and also you get to see pictures of the local currency. And wait – that is not all of it! You get a few pages on local cuisine as well as the specific foods and drinks, typical for your destination. I always appreciate the country’s culture and I try to ‘dine like the locals’ as much as I can when I am somewhere new, so this information is extremely important to me.
Of course, there are so many more cool stuff inside these guides, but I will let it to you to find them out for yourself. I am sure you can find the brand in most of the bigger bookstores and they are offered in several languages but for sure English and German are available here in Austria.
Huh? How come Instagram has anything to do with planning my trip? Very simple – it helps you to get to know where you are going. I love small bakeries, cute streets off the beaten track and cozy cafés where the locals go and have a chit-chat on the weekends. Well, unfortunately this information is neither on TripAdvisor nor in my travel guide, but I have realized that some of the most successful instagrammers that post regularly pictures from their basis-location are actually giving away all the hints about the cool places that are definitely ‘in’. Therefore, whenever I see something that looks really cool (say a street, fountain or a corner) on my feed, I just added to my collection so I can revisit it and plan on going at that very same place, without having to look it up again.
If you have been with me for a while, you know I am the ultimate rambler. That’s more than obvious by my photo-walks in Vienna and I love exploring cities by walking around. There is one downfall to that – I am a bit of a sloth. I am definitely not a sporty type and after walking for three or four hours straight, I already feel the need to sit down and have a break. Another problem with walks is that you are depending on the mercy of the weather and if it is a rainy afternoon, public transport is definitely unavoidable. Yet, if I can give you one advise that would be: Walk as much as possible. Your feet will hurt, you will feel tired and you may even get wet if the weather is not on your side, but what you will remember from a trip like this, would be the spirit of the city, the streets and the atmosphere. You definitely cannot experience the same thing in the underground and hiking from one museum to another, give yourself time to explore the place you are and fully submerge yourself within it.
I hope you found this article helpful and I wish you safe travels wherever you are going, Enjoy!