Save Time and Money When Visiting a New City

When heading to a new city, doing a bit of research before your arrival can maximize your enjoyment of the trip

By planning ahead, you’re sure to maximize a city’s sights

If you’re exploring a new city, do some research in advance to save yourself time and money 

You’re heading out to holiday in a brand-new city and your “to do” list is long. Go here, get there, see this, that and everything else — in what’s likely a shorter than desired amount of time.

Well, it turns out adding a few “don’ts” to your list could make for a more satisfying vacation experience. Be a little bit savvier when planning your next trip to a new city and you’ll be able to navigate the territory like a seasoned pro — and save money in the process. Here are some helpful hints:

  • Look for Freebies: Don’t pay if you don’t have to. Even the most expensive cities have “free” attractions. You just need to do some research ahead of time, and you’ll find that most institutions that do charge a fee will set aside certain complimentary days or hours. And if you’re a student, teacher or senior, always carry ID. Freebies or discounts may drop in your lap. Another option for free fun, if you’re headed to New York or Los Angeles, is to snag free audience tickets to a TV show taping.
  • Stick to Public Transit: If you can, avoid taking cabs. For a more local experience and potentially quicker ride (especially during rush hour), choose public transportation. If you plan to do a lot of hopping on and off, purchase an all-day or multi-day transit pass. Avoiding taxis at the airport will often save you a bundle as well. Well-used public trains serve international airports in New York, Chicago, Beijing and London, to name a few. Shuttle services are also available.
  • Think Ahead: Don’t forget to check and book events in advance by browsing the city’s event calendars. In big metropolitan centres, shows sell out and restaurants fill up. So, if you have a specific interest in mind, go directly to the source, such as to the Sydney Opera House for performing arts, or to Open Table for dining reservations.
  • Go Beyond the Core: Finally, don’t overlook the outlying areas of any city you’re visiting. Suburbs and outer boroughs can be more authentic and exotic than the downtown core. For example, Neuilly-sur-Seine, which borders Paris, is a wealthy enclave of boutiques, cafés, street markets and more, while Tokyo’s suburbs are sprinkled with shrines, temples, beaches and hiking trails.

Just do a bit of research before you go and you’ll not only be pleasantly surprised but also have some fantastic stories to tell when you get home.

Claire Newell is the travel media expert for Global BC, host of the travel series Operation: Vacation, best-selling author, spokesperson, wife and mother of two.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.