If you and your family are making your first trip to a larger city such as New York, you may be feeling slightly worried about the prospect of the very different travel experience you'll have compared to your former vacations. Though it may be overwhelming at first, there are a few easy tips you can remember that will help you make the most of your trip.
1. Plan Ahead
This may seem obvious at first glance, but when preparing for a vacation sometimes I get too excited about the big things I want to see and forget to plan for practicalities first. It's wise to get a good idea of the area you'll be staying in and how the public transportation works. You can figure out specific stations and maps once at your hotel and planning your daily activities. But subway and bus stations are hectic, confusing and crowded. If you know what kind of tickets you need to buy and how and where to purchase them you'll cause less aggravation to local commuters and draw less attention to yourselves as confused tourists.
2. Travel light
After my year of traveling, I am and will forevermore be a fan of traveling light. Never is this more convenient than when wheeling your luggage through busy city streets, and you're out of luck if you arrive in your city during lunch time or rush hour. It's hell. Try to pack as light as possibility and most importantly have luggage you can pick up quickly and carry if necessary.
Of course we all need maps to find our way, but try your best not to whip out your spanking new guide book or huge fold out map in the middle of a crowded city block. Looking down at your smart phone instead of looking where you're going with your own two feet also falls into this category. Not only are you probably blocking pedestrian traffic, you're also an obvious target for people trying to take advantage or rob unsuspecting tourists. Pop into a coffee shop or drug store and browse casually while you get your bearings in a safer environment.
4. Find an Insider
This is a great travel tip for anywhere you're going, but is especially helpful in a big city environment. Large cities have so much going on and so much to offer, you don't want to miss out on something you would have especially enjoyed because you couldn't find it in a guide book. Ask around or seek out friends of friends to help you find that super special underground you've been searching for.
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Photo credit: Amy Wiener