What are the best travel destinations? What should I keep in mind when I’m planning my trip? And: how can I get the most out of my trip while I’m on the road? We’ve put together a list of our top tips to help make planning your next city trip easier.
The agony of choice: where should I go?
World metropolis or tiny village? In the footsteps of tourists or off the beaten path? The list of potential destinations for a city vacation is infinitely long. But there’s no right or wrong when it comes to selecting a destination. As is often the case, it’s just a matter of balancing competing interests. And: daring to take a look outside the box. Everyone knows Paris, London and Berlin. But what about Ljubljana, Zagreb or Utrecht? Of course, cheap flights or deals on train travel can be an easy source of inspiration.
The appeal of the low season
City trips are just for spring and summer? We don’t think so. Just as the weather outside is getting colder and the hordes of tourists begin to disappear is the perfect time to explore a new city. Prices fall to a more normal level and you won’t have to compete with the nerve-racking tourist hum. Winter is also an excellent season for city trips. In the pre-Christmas period, many cities become truly impressive destinations, filled with Christmas markets and holiday cheer.
Why planning is half the battle
As nice as it is to just go with the flow – a little research is quite useful if you really want to get the best out of your city vacation. For example, we offer hundreds of city travel guides that you can download conveniently in app form, right to your smartphone. Using the app, you can create your trip in the Trip Planner before departure and add your must-visit attractions, restaurants and museums. On the road, you’ll always have them handy thanks to offline maps.
Ideally, it’s best to get an overview of the city map before you depart. Where is your hotel? How far are distances from one another? Is there public transportation, or can you get there on foot? Sometimes, but not always (!), a city or sightseeing pass can be a good value. In addition to discounts on attractions and points of interest, many such passes also include free access to public transportation.
A little research can also go a long way when it comes to food and drink – after all, you don’t want to be sitting in the nearest tourist restaurant grumbling over mediocre food. Consider locating a few restaurants in advance that are rated well and primarily frequented by locals. Of course, finding a restaurant yourself on the fly is certainly possible and sometimes works out for the best – but please don’t go searching on the busiest shopping street in the city, unless you want to plan for unreasonably over-inflated prices.
It’s all about timing
Visiting the most famous attraction in the city at 11 o’clock in the morning? Unfortunately, you won’t be the only one. Especially in the case of well-known highlights, it’s best to visit during the “off hours.” Find out in advance if there’s a way to skip the line. Can tickets be pre-booked? This option is also available directly in our app.
Also consider the time of day: a panoramic lookout view over the city is less impressive in the glaring midday sunlight than at sunset. If you enjoy taking photographs, it’s better to pull out the camera in the morning and evening hours just before sunset. That’s when you’ll find the most beautiful lighting for photography.
In the footsteps of the locals: Free Walking Tours
It’s hard to find anything better: free walking tours are – as the name implies – free city tours of the highlights of your destination. Most occur daily on a set schedule, are often led by students or young people, and request payment by donation for what you think the tour was worth. This opportunity is not to be missed – there’s hardly a better way to get a more thorough overview of a city in such a short time.
Last but not least, it is of course important to mention that the most important ingredient for a successful city trip is a lot of fun. So don’t allow yourself to get stressed out when every little thing doesn’t go according to plan. And always remember: the little mishaps that occur on every trip are always the most fun parts to tell your friends later on.