Modern-day tourists anywhere across the world now prefer to explore their destinations in a whole new different way as compared to their counterparts a few decades ago. Americans are now discovering how walking tours introduce them to exciting experiences and unique facets of the towns that they would have otherwise missed. Gone are the days when you saw busloads of vacationers zipping past the prime tourist landmarks and other places of interest, their cameras clicking furiously.
Sightseeing is Now About Getting Under the Skin of the City
Should you check out this feature on HuffPost, you’ll learn about how chatting up with local people can reveal unknown snippets of information and interesting facts that typical guided tours never tell you. For instance, learn about the favorite cafes and bars frequented by idols and celebrities when they were still unknown. Or, discover the identities of the original immigrants who populated a city for the first time. You may also find out about how the local cuisine evolved or what kind of street food you absolutely must try. By the time you end your holiday in the city, you’ll have a feel of the spirit of the city and what makes it tick.
However, keep in mind that such vacations are best enjoyed when you come prepared for them. Spend some time doing basic research about what you would like to see and do and then, let the charm of the city take over and lead you along. Here are some of the important tips to keep in mind when going on Pittsburgh walking tours or similar excursions in other parts of the world like Rome, New York, Washington, and various others.
Match Your Fitness Levels to the Landscape of Your Destination
Walking tours usually involve long distances with each excursion lasting around two to three hours. While you’re possibly used to walking around your hometown, it is advisable to check out the general terrain of the city where you’re going. For instance, you could be vacationing in a mountainous locale where roads wind uphill and downhill. In the months leading up to the holiday, consider adapting your body to the expected terrain. Spend time walking along similar areas or train on an incline treadmill at the gym. Condition your body and build adequate stamina so you can enjoy exploring your vacation destination. Like this feature on USAToday recommends, pick out appropriate footwear and break in your trekking shoes by wearing them regularly for a few weeks in advance.
Match Your Interests to the Attractions of the City
Assuming that your vacation will likely last a couple of weeks, it is best that you plan your excursions according to your individual interests. Are you keenly interested in architecture and historical buildings? Choose tours that give you an up close and personal view of the main specimens in the town. Do you absolutely enjoy sampling cuisines? Then, you must find the best places to eat like family-owned restaurants and small street cafes. Or, maybe, you love checking out local crafts and unique artifacts. Then, the flea markets and souvenir stores are a must-do. If you’re open to any experiences that come your way, spend time chatting up the locals like the receptionist of your hotel or servers at the cafeteria where you stop for a meal. Or, pick the brains of other walking tour enthusiasts and ask about the best off-beat places they’ve enjoyed seeing.
Check Weather Forecasts
If you’re looking to economize on your vacation, going during off-season is a smart move. You’ll get cheaper lodgings and many vendors give you attractive rates to maintain sales. But, if cost is not an issue, make sure to check that the weather is favorable when finalizing your bookings. Also, pack in the proper clothing and other supplies so you remain comfortable all through the walking tours. For instance, shorts are perfect if the temperatures are high, but have a jacket along to deal with a spot of rain or unexpected dips in the mercury. And, if you’re expecting to be out on explorations a sunny day, bring a light-weight hat, sunglasses, and plenty of sun protection. For more information about the supplies you should have along, this article on VeryWellFit is a good read.
Plan Your Own Tour or Contact Professional Guides
If you’re a veteran of walking tours, you could probably have an awesome holiday armed with just a map and the Google browser for added information. But, novice explorers may want to sign up with professional guides. Every city has residents who enjoy showing visitors around their hometown. With a little research, you should be able to contact enthusiasts like, say, students or retirees who conduct on-foot excursions. Read up about the specific attractions the tour will cover, the duration, age demographic, and general route. Most trips cover a circular path starting and ending at a particular point. If you like, you can also leave the group at one of the stops along the way and continue on your own. Many such tours are free of cost and only require you to tip the guide at the end of the trip.
Fuel and Hydrate Your Body
One of the prerequisites of enjoyable walking tours is keeping up energy levels and hydration. Eat a filling breakfast to fuel your body for the trek and bring bottles of fluids. Many cities have filling stations where people can refill bottles and refrain from using plastic disposables. Your guide will be able to provide directions to clean and safe drinking water and cafeterias where you can buy food if needed. It is also advisable to bring energy bars and dry snacks that you can munch. But, remember to pocket the trash and dispose of responsibly.
Exploring a city or town on foot is one of the most exciting ways to get a closer view of its inherent charm. Not only do you get an immersive experience of its attractions and people, but you’ll understand it better than any conventional excursions. Go ahead and opt for walking tours this summer and your vacation will be truly enriched.