I love a weekend city break no matter if it’s to a city in the UK or a city further afield but sometimes having only 2 days can be a little stressful. There will be so many things to fit in and you’ll feel like there really isn’t much time to get it all done in. Cue instant stress about worrying how you’re going to see everything and get enough sleep to function. Then there is the fact you’ve never been to this city before, you don’t know the way round and now it’s all becoming a little overwhelming.
Recognise these fears and stresses? Don’t worry I’ve got you covered in this post.
Tips for a Stress Free City Break
The biggest piece of advice I can give you for a city break is to do your research. Find out about the city, what there is to see and do, where to eat, where you should go and anywhere that’s not really worth your time. Doing the research will help your trip to go a lot more smoothly and mean you go feeling a lot more confident in your ability to navigate the weekend.
Check directions to and from your accommodation
Unless you’ve booked a transfer then this is a biggie. The first thing you do when you get to your destination is probably going to be to head to your accommodation. You’ll want to drop your bags before tackling the streets of your new destination. You could grab a taxi but that is normally expensive and you’re trying to stay on budget so I’d suggest asking the hotel/hostel/Airbnb hosts for suggestions. If you find them unhelpful my next action is always to check the ‘getting to and from the airport’ section in Lonely Planet. They always have more than one suggest of how to get to certain parts of town, you then just need to tailor it to your accommodation. I also find Citymapper is an amazing app for transport and it is now available in a range of cities.
Carry a Map
The hardest thing I find about being in a new city especially if it is a big city like London is working out how to get from A to B. I tend to always carry a map (if the Lonely Planet book comes with one) and mark on a few key places like the accommodation, key sights and places to eat. If you haven’t got a map to carry but have internet access on your phone then that is just as good. Just remember to carry a portable charger with you or your battery will probably die before your day is done. Not got either? Don’t panic a lot of hostels, hotels and even Airbnbs now have maps available for guests or check the tourist information centre.
Booking a restaurant might sound like a weird one but there are a few reasons I suggest this. First is a personal one, as someone who suffers from food intolerances I find it hard to know where I can eat. I find it much easier and relaxing for me if I do the research before the trip and if it seems like a popular place I’ll book a table just to be sure. Another reason I suggest this is because the popular restaurants that you read about and are Instagram worthy typically get booked up weeks in advance so if you have something in mind then you need to secure it early on.
If booking a table isn’t your thing then don’t worry about that part but I’d still suggest doing some research and coming up with a list of places to eat in the areas you’ll be. The number of times I’ve spent more than an hour looking for somewhere decent to eat is more than a couple unless I’ve done some research first.
Decide on a few things to see
This one should be pretty obvious, after all the reason you’ve come on a city break is probably to see some things. The key with this is to not only decide on a few things for the trip but to also make sure you know where they are. There is nothing worse than having no internet and no idea where that place is you want to go to. Decide on enough to fill the weekend but know that you might not get them all done.
You then need to plan a little around these things, try and put them into groups of things that are near each other and can be done together. This will stop you from going back and forth all over the city and maximise your time there.
Schedule some time to just wander
Although I’ve left this to last I think this is one of the most important things. I’m sure there will be so much you want to do on your trip but trying to squeeze it all in will probably make you feel very stressed. I suggest instead you schedule two to three things per a day and then allow time to just wander on foot and explore the area. Maybe there is a view point to wander to or a bridge to cross at. Whatever it is, no matter how small it will give you some ‘slow’ time during your city break to relax a little.
Wandering also allows you to see things you would never have found otherwise. Unless you have a local showing you round I find it hard to know where all the ‘good stuff’ is but by wandering you’ll get to see a lot more than going from tourist attraction to tourist attraction. Don’t be afraid to just stop at a cafe, sit and just watch the world go by.
I hope these tips help you to have a stress free city break. Do you have anything to add?
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