One of the best ways to see the sights is on your two feet, waltzing through metropolitan areas and taking-in the native culture. However, a bit of pre-planning goes a long way. Here’s how to embark on one of the best sightseeing strategies atop your own two legs.
Schedule Time to Stop
You can’t expect to walk for hours without taking breaks. The intense effort will make you tired, thirsty for water, and confronted with too many sights. Make a list of things you want to see and then rate how badly you want to see each. Depending on the number of places on your list, make a schedule and estimate how much time you’ll spend in each place.
Stop for Lunch
Forgetting to eat is a major mistake of those navigating around a major city. Eat a hearty breakfast, pack snacks, and choose a destination to stop and get lunch. You’ll need the additional energy to charge through the second part of your walking tour.
Get Out Early
If you get out early enough, you’ll see the first embers of day, the temperature will be cooler, and you’ll get ahead of the crowds. The early morning hours give you a jumpstart on other natives and tourists, which means fewer crowds and minimal lines to see the sights.
Experience the Night
Just as you allocate time for the wee hours of the morning, be sure to experience the night on your walking tour. Some cities, such as Paris, Washington DC, and NYC, are preferred by walkers at night due to the glow of the lights and the excitement of the night.
Incorporate a Bicycle
Walking all day can be boring, so spice-up the experience by incorporating a bicycle. Like walking, it’s great exercise, yet you’ll be able to accelerate your speed so you can see more in less time. Be sure to adhere to city bicycling rules and wear a helmet, especially when riding around heavy traffic outside of the Renaissance by Marriott.
Don’t Pay for a Tour
A lot of city tours are offered whether you’re a foodie or want to see the city on a Segway. But those tours are structured to make money. That means you’re financially better off seeing the sights on your own terms. The only thing a tour has to its advantage is preparation. If you study the sights and formulate your own itinerary, there’s no difference between your DIY tour and a paid one.
Do It on a Weekday
Major cities are populated on the weekends by natives and tourists alike. You won’t get the full weekend experience but that might be a good thing. Head to the DC area late at night or early in the morning on a weekday and reserve one or a few days for an appropriate walking tour.
Take a Companion
Sure, you can get through the city on your own but you’ll want more people there to enjoy the experience. Take a spouse or friend on location with you so there is someone else there to make the time more memorable.