How to Be an Expert Traveler in Major Cities

If you’re wandering around your own town or city, you can usually spot someone from out of town pretty quickly. They’re the ones who are not following the common rules of the area. They’re stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to discuss what to do next. They’re staring at maps or their phones. Or they’re craning their necks to look at the tall buildings. You can tell they’re not an expert traveler.
Tourists may not know how to get around while visiting a new city, but that’s because they haven’t quite prepared themselves for the experience. If you visit a new city, theme park, museum, or other major attraction, you can look like a local, or at least an expert tourist if you just follow these tips.
Don’t stop on the sidewalk. This is one of the biggest signs that you are a tourist. You get in the way of the people who are moving along and trying to get somewhere. In bigger cities, people tend to move quickly to keep up with the flow of traffic and don’t react well to someone stopping to figure out their next move. Imagine what would happen if a driver stopped in the middle of the road to look at a map, and you have an idea of why it’s so irritating.
Don’t add to rush hour. Driving your own car, taking a cab, or taking a ride-sharing vehicle during rush hour can be both time-consuming and costly. Cabs usually charge riders for their time, not their distance traveled. Hypothetically, you could travel a mile in 45 minutes during rush hour and spend over $20, when the same 10:00 PM ride might only cost you $5. You’re better off either walking or leaving at a different time. Even public transportation is a better option.
Stand on the right side of the escalator or moving sidewalk. Another pet peeve for locals and the expert traveler is when people stand on the wrong side (left side) of the escalator, which stops the people who are still walking. The right side is for standing, but you’re holding up traffic if you stand on the left.
Wear comfortable shoes. Walking is the preferred way to get around the big city, but you’ll walk miles in a single day. So make sure you wear the right shoes for your walking, or you’ll cause yourself some unnecessary pain and even a possible injury. If you don’t have a good pair of walking shoes, get a new pair a couple of weeks before your trip and get used to them.
Gently walk into public transportation. Kindness goes a long way, especially for tourists. So if you take public transportation, don’t be unkind and shove your way onto the subway, elevated train, or bus. It’s proper protocol to let people off before you get on, so don’t push your way into the car as soon as the doors open.
Do not feed the local animals. It may seem fun to feed the birds in the cities you visit, but this is something either the locals discourage or the city government has even banned. For example, feeding pigeons may agitate them and cause a ruckus. Plus, it encourages them to keep coming back to the place where somebody fed them previously. Even if you don’t see any signs that tell you not to feed the animals, it’s still a good idea not to do it because it may just be an unwritten rule that the locals already follow.
What are your big city travel tips? How do you look like a local or an expert traveler in major cities? Share your tips with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.
Photo credit: kjubee (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)