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It’s such an amazing thing to pack for a long journey, thinking about all the amazing things you’ll be doing in your some-month some-where meet some-one able to tell you some-thing about the place you’re going to call home for a while, isn’t it?
Other times we just have to be satisfied with a one week trip to learn more about how it feels to be in a city that you’ve been dreaming of for a while.
but now I’m here, checking if I can put 80 or 50 euros on my pre-paid card (the one that I use to book flights and hotels/hostels) and see if I can book, within the end of the day, a very low cost flight to Milan since it’s from there that my very low cost flight for Warsaw will leave in a couple of weeks.
And I’m going to stay there just for 3 days, in one of my emergency-getaway-weekends, booked on the spur of a crazy moment when my brain told me:
“stop working and stop talking, I can’t stand you anymore, book a f**** flight”.
It happens more than once in a while, to tell the truth. I can say me and my luddite brain are kind of expert in weekend getaways.
And over the years I’ve learned a bit about how to get the best out of a week end trip! And now I’ll tell you some of my secrets to come back happy and satisfied (and even relaxed) from such a short journey.
#1 – Make a plan…
I think it’s useless to buy a city guide (well, I’s up to your taste, I know many people love paper city guides and I respect it).
I like searching on the internet and mainly on travel blogs the best and suggested things and places to visit.
Then, I look for those closer to my hotel/hostel and that can be easily reached on foot (I’m an epic walker… if you are used to have short trips you’ll become one).
So, you have in mind (and mark down on your smartphone or wherever) a map and a plan of the things that you can do without stressing yourself.
#2 – don’t follow your plan
We all know that the reason why it’s worth making plans, is to state your absolute mind freedom choosing not to follow a plan that you made.
When you’re in another city, in another country, you’ll see that everything is a bit (or very) different than what you see on line and/or in paper guides.
When you’re finally there, it’s your taste and feeling that melt with the place and makes it look different. So it’s up to you to decide what to do and where to go.
So, is the previous plan useless? No, it’s not.
Because thanks to that you have in mind the most important attractions that you like and you feel more confident with the city.
For instance, if you’ve planned to visit a museum but an unexpected sunny and ‘springy’ day comes out, you can hijack it all and choose the biggest city park to relax.
#3 – keep calm, you can’t see everything
Keep calm, leave with the clear perception and conviction that you can’t see ‘everything’ (I still don’t know exactly what people mean with ‘have you seen everything?’).
And you know what? who cares?
If you expect to visit all the MUST SEE you’ll be frustrated even after a 10 months travel.
There are 3 ways to visit a city:
the way the others do it
the way you would like to do it
The way you’ll finally and freely do it.
Choose your own way and be happy!
#4 – Make this trip… you own trip
Do what you feel like to. Even resting in the hotel for a couple of hours longer than what you’ve planned. When you made the above mentioned plan you didn’t know how tired you would be (or how amazing and cozy the hotel would be).
Are you walking down O’Connel Street in Dublin and feel ravished by a street music band? Stay there, don’t run away just to run after your running-out time.
You have a lifetime to go back and see the National Gallery, but maybe you’ll never bump into that live amazing music again.
#5 – Walk (at least, that’s the best for me)
I think walking a lot is one of the best ways to get the best out of your long/short-term travels.
Because in this way you don’t just enjoy each destination or “steps of your trip plan”, but also the ways that lead you there. They can be the main city roads as well as the secundary shortcuts and it will be like enjoying and feeling more the place you’re visiting.
#6 – Take advantage of technology
Use your smartphone and Apps to be guided. There are a lot of city map Apps that will allow you re-plan your next step basing on your current position.
Are you walking down the streets of London to get to the Tate? You are tired and you want to go inside that small tea-house? Go and choose your cup of tea , take a rest and search with this App what’s closer than the Tate that you can also enjoy (a small city market, an old books library and so on).
Remember that the absolute protagonist of your travel is not the place you’ll photograph but YOURSELF inside that place, your own experience.
I think a good travel is not like a national geographic picture. Let’s say the good travel is like a non-post-edited selfie 🙂