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There is probably no one best way to commence exploring a new city, but there are a number of good ways. Whether you are merely passing through or relocating, exploring a new city can be fun and entertaining if you know where and how to look for interesting things.
One of the first resources for exploring a new city is the city’s Chamber of Commerce or tourism department. In moderate to large cities, these departments may be located online, and may offer travel deals, restaurant discounts or head’s ups on walking tours. As well, these city guides can give you access to information about transportation like bus schedules and bus routes that make exploring a new city much easier.
Often, a city’s tourism department is geared toward the tourist, which means you may be led to more expensive destinations. Another good place to look for city "secrets" on exploring a new city on the cheap is evaluating the many guidebooks available for each location. Choose the newest guidebooks possible, as they will have the most current information. In fact, merely perusing a few guidebooks in the store can help plan a trip.
The Internet is an ever-increasing source of information. Some people even publish guides to their cities, with information on hot local spots or things to do. Many travel sites may give you a great deal of free information that will make exploring a new city quite simple. If you are driving, online mapping sites can simplify driving directions and get you to locations quickly.
Alternately, blogs, or online chats can be a terrific way to find out information about exploring a new city. Online chats for locals are often a great place to inquire about the best places to go, to stay, or about great dining options.
Another excellent source for exploring a new city is the many television travel programs that regularly feature different cities. These often have great tips on different entertainment options or must see locations. Some programs are geared toward those traveling on a budget, and others take either a middle income or luxury approach.
Channels like the Food Network can be a great help in exploring a new city because many programs are devoted to reviewing different restaurants in a particular area. Of these, many find Rachel Ray’s $40 a Day most useful, because she generally has great tips on good food that is also not terribly expensive.
As well, when you start exploring a new city, ask locals to help you. Staff at hotels and motels can give you lots of good information about local restaurants, shops and sightseeing opportunities. You may also want to simply ask a friendly looking person in a shop about their favorite place to get certain things, like popular food items or gifts.
Lastly, there are now many podcasts dedicated to exploring a new city. Some are free, and some may cost a few dollars. Most are reasonably priced. These can be of great use if you have an Ipod or MP3 player. Some podcasts will even guide you on walking tours around a city, or through a museum. The more you know from the above methods, the more likely you are to enjoy your trip. Happy Trails!
Even better than just an smartphone map application is something like the app CrowFlies for iphone/pod/pad.
You do not have to have your eyes on the phone at all times while exploring. The app just guides you to your destination with a compass as easy as the crow flies.
It is better to travel with an ipod than with a big guide book.