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Saturday, September 26, 2020

10 Things I Love Doing On Every Trip

Every trip you go on is going to be different, even when I return to a city, it's never the same visit. There are 10 things I like to do to make my trips awesome, and we tend to do these almost every time we travel anywhere, because they are great ways to learn about your destination.

  1. Get up high - As much as I adore seeing everything from the ground, you can see just how big of a place you are visiting, including all the landmark buildings and parks and water features, like rivers. It's like looking at a map but way cooler. Before we leave home, I look for places that can give me a view of the skyline, whether that's a giant Ferris wheel, like the London Eye, or a building that has 360-degree views like Skyspace OUE in Los Angeles, or even a restaurant like Seattle's The Loupe inside the Space Needle. 
  2. Take an open-top bus tour - The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus is the best invention. Not only do you get some air, but you you also get a city tour that gives you cool information about your destination, and drops you off at all the major landmarks and activities. You can pay for a day or a multi-day pass. I like to make one full complete loop on the bus to see everything, and then get off and see things after that.
  3. Take public transportation - You can learn a lot about your city by taking their buses, subways, and trains. Not only do you save money on getting around, but it gives you a sense of where things are, and it's like a very cheap tour. If you use your phone's Google maps, it'll tell you which stop you want to get off on, meaning you have plenty of time to look around while you're on your ride.
  4. Take a walking tour - There are all types of walking tours in most cities, including free ones. We never really realized how awesome they were until we took ones through Walks.com in London, and now we try to do at least one anywhere we go. They can have different themes or can be general, and we've been on several free ones that have been better than paid ones we've taken. Make sure you carry cash for a tip at the end, have your phone charged for pictures, and do your research by looking at reviews before booking.
  5. Eat at a recommended hole-in-the-wall - You know how much I love food. I will plan whole days around where I want to eat, but I always leave wiggle room. We tend to ask Uber drivers and hotel staff (not the concierge) where they like to eat. We've discovered some real gems this way. Keep an open mind, because some of the best places I've eaten do not look like much from the outside.
  6. Find a great coffee shop - Coffee fuels me in more ways than one. I scope out the coffee shops around where I'm staying on Google and look at menus and reviews. We found two amazing ones when we were last in London. Both had excellent brews, but the food was also outstanding. I have a favorite one in Vegas (Bad Owl Coffee) and one in New Orleans (Avenue Cafe). 
  7. Try the local food trucks - I love food and I love saving money. you can do both at the food trucks/cars. It's also perfect for travel in groups or families, because where there's one food truck, there's usually several. This means you can find something for everyone who might not be able to agree on a restaurant. We live in a city that is packed with food trucks, so we feel right at home when we eat at them in other cities.
  8. Shop the farmers' market - Another thing that focuses on food, but it's also really affordable. Generally, we plan a morning to hit up the nearest farmers' market for snacks and weird things we've not seen before. It's a great way to stock up on local fruits for breakfasts, which is generally the meal we eat in most often. It means we don't have to get up early, and we save quite a bit of cash. Markets are a good place to interact with locals and ask questions (like where they like to eat).
  9. Go grocery shopping - Maybe you think it's weird that adore a foreign grocery store. At home, I try to get in and out as fast as possible, but when I'm in other countries, I like to take my time checking out the different foods and picking out what I want to eat for breakfast and snacks. We've found a lot of new favorite things this way. 
  10. Walk through neighborhoods - Taking the bus or driving is great, but it doesn't give you the same feeling as you get when you just get off the main thoroughfares and just stroll through some neighborhoods to see how people live. We tend to stay in Airbnb rentals and live in a city like a local, which means we are usually walking some blocks to get to a transit station. 
I'm sure you have your own favorite things to do on a trip. I want to hear about them. Tell me your musts for trips in the comments!

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