Nowadays all the big cities are well connected to the internet and everything can be found on internet. Is incredible the amount of information we have access to and how many great travel guide are around there. Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor, Rough Guides, Google itself has lots of product to guide your trip in any city in the world, Foursquare, and the list can go on and on. But with all technology progress a new challenge rises: find the right information in a short period of time.
Some of you may have your favourite travel guides and you use them, but it can be that it’ll not take too long for you to realise that you do the same itinerary, visit the same places, eat at the same restaurants, and the ones working in this places know it and out of the sudden you find yourself traveling in a bubble, where everything is overpriced, disconnected to the local reality and maybe the quality not at the level it could be.
In the technology era, with unlimited travel guides, I opt for teaching you how to fish instead of giving you the fish. Below is a step by step guide to any big city in the world which will help you to go beyond the beaten path in big cities.
- Search things to do in … Chicago or any other place you are in. Then trip advisor, lonely planet pop up. They are great for the first look, but you want to go beyond that.
- Look beyond and furthermost the classic travel sites/blogs. Search for local websites. Usually they are below the international chains.
- Search for the locals. Search for the opinion of the locals. Some places may be easy to do so because of the language, some not, but with google translator I’m sure you can get a great read of all the information
- Join local groups eg – Facebook groups and post your story: e.g.: Hi there! This is Anca from Romania. I’m ending of +9months trip in Latin America and I came to Chicago to run at Chicagoland marathon. I’ll be in town for the weekend/week and I’m looking for the most memorable experience I can get from this city. Any suggestions?
- Search on google: free things to do in … Chicago. You will be surprised of how many things are out there to discover. This works perfectly for very touristic destinations. Now if you are in a place where life is cheap anyways – e.g. New Delhi, India, you may not care so much about the prices. But if you are in Miami in summer time, you may care about it. But not all is about money, you may find very interesting things to do for free which will not pop up easily otherwise.
- Do the classic – couchsurf, airbbnb, meet a friend or a friend of a friend of a friend, etc
- Look further along the city limits. Search on Google – day/weekend trips from… Milano. You may find out that Milano for example has far more interesting things to see and do outside Milano (even in Switzerland) than the city itself. I’ll give you another example: Helsinki. The best thing to do in Helsinki, Finland is to take the ferry and visit Tallinn, Estonia.
Some things to consider:
- I do recommend you do the touristic classic things first and then if you have time left, go off the beaten path
- Depending on the city you it may be easier to find interesting things to do or not
- You may need more time to go beyond the beaten path