If you’re looking for something totally different in terms of your family vacation, why not go all the way in terms of your accommodations by staying in a busy downtown district?
Between being in close proximity of attractions to getting the full “local experience,” perhaps the best way to get to know a city is by staying smack dab in the middle of downtown. Although downtown accommodations can be a bit pricey, it’s oftentimes worthwhile in terms of not having to worry about traveling around and getting from Point A to Point B quickly.
That said, making the most of your downtown adventure means that you’ll need to know what to expect in terms of navigating the big city. The following five tips whether you’re staying in just about any major metro area out there.
Embrace the Uber Craze
Ride sharing is all the rage right now, especially in big cities where traffic and parking can be a total nightmare. A cost-effective alternative to taxis, taking an Uber when you need to travel somewhere that’s beyond walking distance is a brilliant way to travel. In fact, applying an Uber promo code to your next ride can save you cash regardless of how far you need to go.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Don’t let the crime rates in big cities freak you out. Most tourists are totally fine as long as they don’t go off the beat and path. Stick with crowds and obviously make it a point not to be on foot at excessively late hours. Other common big city safety tips for navigating spots such as NYC include keeping items in your front pockets and to simply look confident rather than aloof while walking around.
Scout Out Local Fare
Checking out a big city also means the potential to check out some amazing food. Rather than rely on chain staples such as McDonald’s, downtown travel represents an awesome opportunity to take in some local fare.
While review sites like Yelp! can be great indicators of what to check out, there are other ways to spot great local restaurants and avoid tourist traps. After all, anything top-rated on apps and review sites tends to get a bit crowded. As such, don’t be afraid to ask around at your hotel or at attractions for local dining recommendations.
Don’t Be Afraid to Mingle with Locals
Although you shouldn’t blindly talk to strangers, you also shouldn’t be afraid to strike up conversation with locals when it’s appropriate. Some cities might have reputations for natives being “short” with tourists (stereotypically NYC or Paris), you may be surprised at how warm people when you approach them with warmth and respect. Likewise, don’t take it personally if someone isn’t up for small talk.
That said, locals are a great source of information when it comes to finding things to do and places to go in the big city.
Search for Free Things to Do
Major metro areas might be associated with a higher cost of living and travel, but they also typically have tons of free events going on at any given time. Between festivals, museums and other local happenings, chances are you can enjoy the sights and sounds of any given city without having to blow out your budget.
Don’t assume that navigating a downtown area is too stressful for you and your family. Instead, keep these tips in the back of your mind so you can have the time of your life.