You know those big, double-decker tour bussed that you see in the movies, or even in some of the bigger cities here in the states… Those… Are… Awesome. A great number of your destinations are probably locations frequented by tourists… Which those bussed… Go to. Here’s the deal: Most of these buses offer 24 to 48 hour passes for around $35 US, and within that time, you can hop on the bus at any of the designated spots, ride along, while listening to a guided tour, until you get to one of your destinations. Simply hop off, get it done, go back to the stop and catch the next bus (many of destinations you go to will even have discounted entry rates if you show them your bus pass). And take your time experiencing that place, as most of those tours have bussed that come around every ten to twenty minutes. The guided tour will pick up right where you left off, and off you go to your next destination. It’s a tour, and transportation to all of the places you gotta go. Great idea for at least the first day or two in a big city, with lots of places to see.
If available, always try and make sure you get one with a live travel guide, instead of a prerecorded one. Pay attention to where the guide is located on the bus (in good weather, they’re almost always on the top level). Sit as near to them as possible, so whenever there’s a break in their spiel (stuck in traffic, or they just ran out of things to say), feel free to ask them your own questions… Now you have your own personal, local, travel advisor.
Be on the lookout for Tics. Not ticks, those little clingy buggers, Tourist Information Centers. They’re almost always in the town center, or near tourist attractions. They are easy to spot, as they are almost always identified by a simple icon of the cursive lowercase letter “i”. Obviously, it’s the peoples’ jobs that work there to help tourists such as yourself, with any questions they might have. Directions, closing times, restaurants, etc. They are also good places to pick up a detailed map of the area.
And the last touristy thing I am going to suggest. Take lots of pictures and video. Yes, people may go “ugh… Tourists” but, there’s no better way to relive your travels than with photos. I have my travel photos as the screen saver for my computer at home! And I get such joy simply by seeing them scroll by, and reliving each and every memory.
And one little piece of amateur photo advice. Make sure you, or one of your group are actually in the damn things. Ever look at someone’s vacation photos, and all they were were just pictures of random mountains and buildings without them in the photos? Boring huh? Might as well be looking at a coffee table book of randomness. And when you take the picture, make sure you have almost a closeup of the person from the waist up, with the greatness of whatever you’re seeing in the background. The only thing worse than no people in a travel photo is having to tell people, “You see that tiny little silhouette the size of a pygmy marmoset there? That’s me.”