Whether you’re a tourist or a local, sometimes you just need a few tips for surviving big cities. If you’re spending time in a big city, it can be easy to get lost and confused whether you’ve been there a zillion times or it’s your first time there. In the past year I’ve spent time in London, Los Angeles, and Chicago, three very different, but unarguably big, cities. I’ve spent enough time people-watching in all three cities to know that sometimes you just need someone to help you out, tourist or not. Hopefully these tips for surviving big cities will help you out!
1. Avoid Looking like a Tourist
Trying not to look like a tourist is, without a doubt, one of the most important tips for surviving big cities. It can save you time, money, and embarrassment. Some cab drivers will drive longer routes to charge more, so be extra wary in cabs. Locals in general will also treat you differently if you make it blatantly obvious that you’re a tourist. It will undoubtedly save you a lot of embarrassment.
Don’t linger when walking down the street. There are few things more annoying than a person casually walking and lingering when you’re trying to get somewhere, tourist or not. Be courteous of the other couple million people coexisting in the city with you and walk quickly. Don’t be that person.
3. Stay out of the Way
This goes along with number two; don’t be in people’s way. Don’t stand in the middle of the street when there are obviously a lot of people trying to get down the street and you are obviously in the way. It’s easy enough, but walk the streets of any big city and by the end of the day you will want to scream at the person standing in your way, staring at their phone, completely immobile. Once again, don’t be that person.
4. Know Where You’re Going
The GPS is a wonderful invention and most people now have it on their phones. However, don’t walk around the city staring down at your phone following your GPS. Do that before you embark on your adventure. If you’re looking at your phone while you’re trying to navigate the city, you may miss out on some amazing sights! On top of that, not only will you save time, but you’ll also look like less of a tourist if you don’t have to look at your GPS constantly!
5. It’s Okay to Wander!
On the same note, it’s okay to wander, just do it in a somewhat organized fashion! If you get lost (and don’t have anywhere urgent to be), enjoy it. You might find something amazing. Most of the sightseeing we did in London was due to wandering. Don’t be afraid of wandering or getting lost, embrace it! If you do end up completely lost, you can always hail a cab or find some type of public transport!
6. Proper Footwear
It goes without being said that you need to walk a lot in big cities, and comfortable shoes are a must. You don’t want to lose the ability to walk a good ten miles away from where you’re staying. That’s not a fun situation. You may be tempted to wear your favorite heels, but unfortunately comfort must come before fashion in big cities. We’re not all Carrie Bradshaw.
7. Learn before You Go
You don’t need to plan your visit down to the minute, but a little research won’t hurt. Look into good restaurants and how to get around a little before you get there. Educating yourself on the city and the area you’ll be in is not only a perfect way to get acquainted with the city, but also another way to avoid looking like a tourist! Educating yourself on the area will overall make your trip infinitely less stressful in the long run.
These are just a few of my tips for traveling to big cities. No matter what, remember to always act like you know what you’re doing. You could be completely lost, but if you look like you know what you’re doing no one will know the difference. What are your tips for traveling to big cities? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to get a few more tips for my next trip to a big city!