Visiting a city for the first time is always exciting! But when stress and anxiety set in, it can be difficult to figure out where to start to fully enjoy our vacation. Here are six practical tips to save time and still have fun on your next trip.
Talk to the locals
Forget about the overly edited images on Instagram and the countless travel guides that always recommend the same spots. Talk to people who actually live in the city you’re visiting! They’re the best source of information about your destination’s hidden treasures. Ask them about their favourite restaurants and things to do, the city's most vibrant neighbourhoods, and any tips they might have. Get out of your comfort zone; that’s often how the best memories are made.
Do your research
While talking to locals will certainly help you venture off the beaten path, you should still learn a little about your destination to explore it efficiently. Before you go, find out about the local customs, lifestyle, security concerns, areas to avoid and food. And why not learn a few basic sentences in the country’s language, or bring a pocket dictionary to facilitate your conversations? Be a respectful traveller, not an annoying tourist.
Shop at local markets
The best way to experience local cuisine is definitely to check out the city's markets. Discover new ingredients, ask questions, taste regional flavours and get some inspiration to recreate your own feast once you’re back home. Talk to the shopkeepers about their specialties and get their tips on how to prepare traditional dishes. You might even find some souvenirs to bring back with you!
Leave your car behind
Why waste time and get frustrated in traffic when you can use a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation that allows you to truly experience the pace of the city you’re visiting? By using public transit or renting a bicycle, you can really get a feel for the area. It will also be easier for you to stop wherever something grabs your attention!
Give yourself the gift of time. Slowly sip a café as you observe the amazing details of your new environment. Put your mobile phone away and take a long walk. Avoid shortcuts and, most importantly, don’t overschedule your visit! Trying to see everything at once will just make your trip stressful. Live in the moment.
Write down your memories
Bring a notebook with you; you’ll be glad you did. It’s the best way to remember all your little discoveries. Reading through your travel notes makes the return home a little less sad.
If you are thinking about visiting Montréal soon, don’t hesitate to ask the professionals at Hotel Ruby Foo for their recommendations to have a blast while discovering the city!