1. Knowledge is power – scope out where you’re going in advance, look up the place on Instagram and follow the hashtags, read the wikipedia page and some local news. If you speak the language or are learning the language, listen to local radio online in preparation for your journey. Look up books, news articles and podcasts about where you are going.
  2. Save any must-dos or recommendations on Google Maps on your phone so while you’re out and about you can check if you’re nearby.
  3. Walk between tourist sites. Take the scenic route and see what you discover.
  4. Leave time to spontaneous experiences, don’t over plan or overbook yourself.
  5. Use public transport where you can.
  6. Download a map of the metro to your phone so you can strategise your journey without obviously staring at the maps on the wall. This also makes you less of a target for pickpockets.
  7. Take a “free” walking tour – these normally are the cost of a tip to the tour guide.
  8. Take the shower caps from hotels, use them when packing shoes in your bags.
  9. Avoid eating in restaurants near tourist sites, including in restaurants with photos and the menu translated into multiple languages. Walk five mins away from any tourist site. The food will be five times better and it will cost five times less.
  10. Check the situation with cover charges (minimum spend) and water before dining out to avoid being stung by hefty hidden charges.
  11. Assume anyone approaching you on the street is up to something dodgy, even if its as “innocent” as asking you to sign a petition.
  12. If you’re in a city with a river, lake or coastline try get out on the water somehow to see the city in a different light.
  13. Visit a supermarket or market, or even better create your own charcuterie board dinner or picnic from supermarket or market goodies.
  14. Follow your niche interests, if you love something see if thats represented where you are going – you don’t have to visit museums, cathedrals and galleries if that’s not your thing (although its worthwhile seeing a few just to experience them but one or two of each might be enough).
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