Happy New Year! Hope everyone is off to a fantastic and powerful 2015!
This time of year is always special for me! I celebrated my 34th birthday on New Years Eve (yes I am a #NYE Baby) at home with friends, food and lots of fun. 2014 was a phenomenal year for me: I lost 60 lbs, quit my corporate job to freelance, consult and coach full time , moved to a new apartment and of course traveled:)
On New Years Day I also celebrate my “Chicago-versary”. Seven years ago on January 1st I took a one way flight from Dallas/Ft Worth to Chicago to begin a new chapter in my life. I left behind friends, family, a beautiful home and opened myself to new opportunities the "big city" had to offer. For all the ups and downs it's still one of the best decisions I've made in my life thus far.
As I settled into Chicago back in 2008 I had to quickly learn how to adapt, navigate and explore my new city. Luckily I had a coworker and friend to help me but I still had to take it upon myself to explore Chicago on my own.
So if you have a relocation in your near future or just making plans to visit a new city for a weekend getaway, here are a few of my #travelsmart tips for exploring a new city:
Google Before You Go
Trip Advisor, Yelp! and TimeOut are my favorite go to websites for all the goods on where to dine, shop, entertain and sightsee. They provide rankings, traveler photos and user reviews that give you an idea of what to REALLY expect.
Official city websites also provide event calendars, maps and comprehensive information on local tours.
Getting Around Town
Before you hurry to book a rental car for your trip take time to discover your other transportation options. If you are in a large metropolitan city like Chicago, NYC or D.C. public transportation are sometimes your best bet! Check out fares beforehand and use Google Maps to determine the closest stops to your hotel and planned destinations. If public transportation isnt an option, you still need to understand cab fares and distances between locations so you can estimate your transportation budget. In a spread out city like Houston or Orlando? Hop on Hotwire.com for the best rental car rates and don’t forget the GPS!
Grab a Deal
Groupons, Living Social Deals and other city vouchers are a must! Before heading to your destination check out these sites for discounted deals at local restaurants. Most deals are between 30%-50% off for popular and newly opened establishments. Pre purchasing vouchers and planning out your meals will also make it easier to stay within your travel budget and plan out a more detailed itinerary. If you are relocating, this is a great way to jump right in and explore restaurants and activities in your new town!
Making connections while on your trip always makes the trip more interesting! Don’t be afraid to casually chat with the hotel bartender or smile at other tourists you see while out and about. Maybe you can link up with another group of people to go to dinner or a local tour and you may end up with a new friend!
So what cities are on your travel agenda this year? Happy Traveling!
One last thing...:
In the spirit of a new year I am adding a monthly newsletter to the blog. In the newsletter you will find helpful articles, travel tips, social media insights and previous blogs you may have missed. I look forward to bringing you new relevant content to help you travel smart with style
Are you going to join me? Sign up here!