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How To Explore A New City: 13 Priceless Tips

Photo by Swaraj Tiwari on Unsplash

Whether it be a short trip, a backpacking adventure or a life-altering move, the task of exploring and getting to grips with the new city in front of you can be as daunting as it is exciting. Not knowing where to begin, it can be easy to lose yourself in all of the possible ways such a task might be attempted.

Below are some of the very best expert-placed tips for those hoping to quickly conquer a new and strange location.

#1 Food Tours

A fantastic way to get an insight of a new city is by joining a Food Tour. There are plenty of companies out there, look for those who offer a genuine experience, the ones that take you to family-owned eateries and to non-touristic areas. Getting to know a city through its gastronomy always give the right flavor for a nice exploration.

Contributor: Marina Manaysan from barcelonaeatlocal.com

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  1. Excellent tour ! You really discover the real Barcelona and rich Catalan gastronomy as well as history. My husband and I loved it !

#2 Data Roaming

Having a smartphone with mobile data makes it so much easier and safer to explore the really off-the-beaten-path sections of any city. When I didn't use to have mobile data, I would plan everything out in details and stick to major tourist areas. But now knowing that I can quickly look up anything I need, I feel a lot more at ease exploring some of the more hidden parts of a city.

Contributor: Steve Long from thetravelbrief.com

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#3 Language

I always learn the basic greetings in the local language. I found that locals usually love it when they see me making an attempt to use their language, however poor my pronunciation might be. The first time I visited Paris many years ago I acted like a typical tourist expecting everyone to speak English, mainly because I was very self conscious of my French pronunciations, and not surprisingly I thought people were pretty rude. But when I visited it again last year, I tried to speak French wherever I can, and I found that Parisians are actually very hospitable!

Contributor: Steve Long from thetravelbrief.com

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#4 Explore The Local Restaurants

Nothing wrong with the larger chain restaurants, but they're not as helpful when it comes to getting to know a new city. That way, you can experience the local cuisine, and normally those at those places the staff can give tips on what to see in the city you're in.

Contributor: Matt Gira from fathomdrone.com

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#5 Make Use Of Instagram

If you're in a new place, look up that city in Instagram since you can filter by location. It's a great way to see what events are happening or just to get examples of what you might see in certain places. In a lot of ways, it's like a sneak preview. The best part though, is that you can ask the person who posted the photo what they thought of the place. Just comment on the post or send them a direct message.

Contributor: Matt Gira from fathomdrone.com

 

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#6 Befriend The Locals

Become friends with locals and others who recently moved to the area. While you are there befriend hotel staff, waiters, local shop keeps and anyone from the neighbourhood that you can. Sometimes just sitting back and talking with a local ends up leading to some great memories and maybe even to an invite to a local beach that they are going to with their family.

Contributor: Jeff Walsh from nomo-fomo.com

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#7 Bed And Breakfasts

Our travel tip would be: check out the bed and breakfasts and small inns in the area. Most of their websites will have a downloadable travel guide or at least a page of the best things to do wherever you are.

Contributor: Stefanie and Mike Hogan from platinumpebble.com

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#8 Culture Spots

I find the best way to explore the city is to get into the culture, which means that you have to get away from normal tourists location and really see the city as you would if you lived in that city.

Contributor: Whitney Matthews from nomatic.com

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#9 Differing Perspectives

Talk to locals and more specifically elders and youth. They will both give you a very unique perspective about where you are and what you should do while there.

Contributor: Laurie Norton from tacogirl.com

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#10 Apps

Google maps is a fabulous way to easily pick and choose where to go eat. Now with their local guide program, more pictures and reviews are going up continuously. Facebook has also jumped on that bandwagon download facebook local app and you can easily find out all you need to know about what is in close proximity to where you just landed.

Contributor: Laurie Norton from tacogirl.com

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#11 House Sitting

House Sitting gives you an opportunity to meet neighbours, and live in areas where you may never go as a tourist. If you’re pet sitting a dog while taking them for daily walks it’s also a great way to interact with the people you pass. As a bonus, the householder usually knows all of the best spots in town to find good grub.

Contributor: Wanda Duncan from ashalbh.com

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#12 Cycling

My favorite way to explore a new city, which I often do when on business (but wanting to make it a pleasure trip as well), is by booking a room at a charming B&B in a residential neighborhood, and using either bike share or a rental bike to commute to my conference (usually in the downtown/city center).

This is a great way to actually SEE the city I'm visiting, as I pass by at a slow roll, explore alternate streets and bridges that are bike-friendly (Google maps makes it easy to identify bike-friendly streets in any city), and observe the architecture, people, and bustle of that particular city.

Contributor: Karen Canady from welove2bike.com

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#13 Walking

I like to explore cities on foot. I'll get a good map, and figure out a nice long loop that will take me by a variety of places. When I am on foot, I am going slow enough to absorb the sights, sounds and smells of everything I pass, and I can stop as often as I want to look at something more closely.

Early on in my visit I like to get to someplace with a good view of the city to orient myself -- a cathedral tower, an office tower with an observation deck, a big hill.

Contributor: John Z Wetmore from pedestrians.org

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Written by James Metcalfe

Twenty year old writer living life on the south coast, struggles to tie his own shoelaces. Believes Toad is the real hero of the Mario universe.

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