Every few weeks or months I find myself in a new place. I turn up knowing little about where I am, what there is to do, or how to get around. Now that I have thoroughly investigated numerous foreign cities… I have found a system that is simple, efficient, and gets me to actively interact with my new environment.
Here are the 5 Step I take when discovering a new place…
1. Find the local tourist office – Go in and ask for a free map. The people in these offices speak English and will usually tell you about the points of interest and the main attractions the city has to offer. You can also ask them about public transport and the cheapest methods of getting around (if the city is big enough that you can’t walk it comfortably).
2. Walk around a TON – I love to walk and stumble across “things”. I initially use my map to get around to the sites… but after that I simply continue walking and looking and walking and looking.
3. Find a cafe and order something weird – After a few hours of walking I find a cafe or local eatery (quickly check out the menu to make sure it’s not too expensive) and find something I’ve never tried before– if I can’t read the menu I will ask the waiter/waitress what they recommend or what their favorite thing is. If the waiter doesn’t speak English I point to something and hope for the best!
4. Speak with a local for recommendations – When I stop into cafes or shops and come across someone who speaks English I will ask them, “I’m in town for the day… what would you recommend I do?” – it’s all about having random conversations with people! I’m a naturally curious person so I like to also learn a bit about the person (if its not too creepy of a situation haha)!
5. AFTER doing step 1-4… I will turn to GOOGLE – Usually when I get home from a day of exploring I will type my current location into Google and search “Things To Do”. It’s a good resource if you want user reviews of places to see or if its worth it to take the trip or spend money on something. If you scroll down on the results page you can sometimes find off the beaten path type of places too!