How to plan a city break when you want to see everything...

I'm a wee bit of an obsessive planner when it comes to holidays. Pretty much the first thing I do when we decide to go somewhere is get my grubby paws on a rough guide. Seriously, I'm that obsessive I have a favourite guidebook, I used to obsessively go through them all but now I just stick with the, they just work for me. But that isn't the point.

When I visit somewhere far off I want to make the most of it and not waste time trying to figure out what to do and where to see. I'm a planner, and sadly that can lead to not having any time to enjoy things. These are my top planning tips

  • If you want to see lots, start your day early. I'm not talking insanely early but if you aren't the clubbing type, and aren't up until 3am dancing the night away, there is no reason to lay in. That'll give you a decent amount of time to do stuff before lunch.
  • Think about things that are close together. If you end up not spending as much time somewhere as you figured, hit up somewhere close by. There have been a few times I've had enough but I'm not quite hungry enough to eat yet, and knowing that there is a shop or film location or something else I fancied seeing close has made me able to do that, and not have to trek back to the same area the next day. Look into transit and walking, sometimes transit might be quicker, but the walk will be worth it.
  • Split what you want to see into an A and B List. You can never get everything done, even with the best will in the world and planning. For a start people will give you ideas on places once you are there, places will be more interesting that they appear on paper, the weather might be terrible or, as happened when we went to NYC, you might end up with a blister the size of a £2 coin so that picturesque walk is just not going to happen. You can always go back.
  • Think about opening hours and hours of daylight. If the attraction shuts at 6pm, and you aren't going to eat until late, find a park, or a bar to people watch if its your thing, or go look at some fab architecture. If you're away in the summer its usually still bright, if not some places look even better lit up.
  • Leave the guide book at home! Do all the research you want, check with mates who've been and all that jazz, but make notes of the things you want to see. I kept addresses, phone numbers and opening times jotted in the back of my notebook, if you carry one thats a good shout. But if you leave the book at home, theres a bit more opportunity to explore and find your own thing rather than just relying on "oh the guidebook said...", If you are worried about maps we all have smartphones, and before you cry roaming data, they have OFFLINE MAPS! Less to carry and more chances for spontaneity!

What are your tips for a good city break. 

No comments