A spontaneous trip to explore a city will always sound thrilling. Being in a different country, you’ll get to see and hear things you normally wouldn’t. You get to go to places you’d never been before. And you get to develop new interests because of these places.
As someone who only recently moved to Melbourne, the thought of exploring the city is extremely appealing. So as you can imagine, I have had many opportunities to go and do so, hence allowing me to share my tips for exploring a city (some tips more obvious than others).
I suppose the point of exploring is to go wander around places you’ve never been to before. It is nice to just go on a little adventure and discover new places in an area for yourself. However, I cannot stress the importance of a map. It is the one thing that will get you back to where you started when you can’t seem to navigate your way round, or you feel like you’re getting a little bit lost.
Now I don’t want to sound like I’m from Gen X, but having a hardcopy map is a lot safer than using your phone. You’re probably thinking, why would I say such a thing? I don’t want to look like a tourist!? Isn’t it easier to just use your phone? I mean, you have your phone on you 24/7 anyway, and a physical map would just be an extra thing to carry around with you! However, if you rely on your phone, you may run out of battery, thus preventing you from being able to use it if an emergency occurs. Very rarely would you go exploring on your own, but even if there are at least two of you with two phones, I’d just rather be safe than sorry.
2) Time of day
Don’t get me wrong, exploring the city at night is much more gripping than during the day. However, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that at night, it’s a lot more difficult to see where you’re going, and that’s clearly a problem that will never go away.
This kind of links to the previous tip actually. You see, when you go exploring during the day, everything is bright and visible. You can see road signs and landmarks, allowing you to navigate your way round easily with a map during the day. In contrast, you can’t really see the signs or key features of a place at night, and so you do run the risk of getting lost because a map won’t be that handy. So I suppose, if you want to play things on the safe side, do go exploring during the day! That way, you can also see things unique to the city much more easily! In saying this, I would recommend going at night after perhaps knowing your way round a little bit because it really is a lot more fascinating.
Now I know when a trip is spontaneous, you don’t exactly have the time to do your research. I mean, that’s what spontaneous is about right? No planning and no prior knowledge. However, this can result in you getting yourself into a bit of a muddle.
The other day, my friend and I made a trip to the city. It was late at night, we’d finished our dinner and was on our way to a festival. When we checked out the event page for the festival, they had a list of things we could see, eat and do. So yeah, I guess you could say that we did plan this. Unfortunately, when we arrived, it wasn’t the amazing festival we thought it would be. There were pretty lights to look at and a few musical performances here and there, but otherwise there wasn’t that much to see. We were feeling a little peckish after dinner and considering how cold it was, we wanted something warm to eat. So this is where my emphasis on research comes in…
We continued walking along the path and began to see heaps of people going in one direction. So we thought, hey, why not follow them and see where they’re going? Perhaps there’s something to see that we weren’t aware of? Little did we know that the Wallabies vs. England game was on, and so everyone was going to the stadium. Obviously we weren’t going to that and so we kept walking. But as we did, there were mobs of people coming in the opposite direction as they wanted to get to the game. So there we were, two girls walking in the opposite direction of massive groups of people. It was insane and we struggled to squeeze through everyone! We ended up walking over 4km to the nearest suburb, which I suppose you’d say is a little ridiculous. So my point is, do carry out some research (even looking something up while walking around would be good!) to know what events are going on around you so that you don’t run into the mess we got ourselves into.
Most, if not all, people would save a whole day to go exploring. So obviously, you’d get a little hungry and want to find a place which serves some delicious food. This tip is a short one, but is very handy.
I’m guessing a lot of you will have heard of Zomato. But in case you haven’t, or you don’t use it, it has literally every food place you can think of worldwide. You can filter your search so that you can find your ideal place. Whether it be the cuisine, time of day or price range, you will always manage to find a nice restaurant or cute cafe that floats your boat. Furthermore, by using Zomato, it means you don’t risk walking into a fancy looking restaurant and coming out with an unexpected huge bill, because you only wanted to go there for how nice it looked…
On a side note, I will be making a post on my favourite places to eat in Melbourne so do look out for that!
So those are a few of my tips that I thought I’d share after experiencing difficulties that come with exploring a city.
Happy travelling and stay safe.