My #1 Best Travel Tip

A woman smiles on a walking tour of Girona, as she touches a statue of a fly, and wears a blue wire headband.

My number one BEST travel tip, above any packing advice or long-flight survival guide that I can write up, is to seek out a walking tour in every city you visit.

Benefits of a walking tour:

  • Meet the locals
  • Find the best restaurants
  • Get off the beaten path and explore the city’s hidden gems
  • And most important, get acquainted with the triumphs, trials, and tribulations of the culture you’re immersing yourself in.
  • Bonus: Find the city’s most instagrammable spots
Empty steps in Girona's old town during a free walking tour.

I started loving history as soon as I was no longer required to read thousands of pages out of sleepy textbooks. In fact, I found myself seeking it out.

Michelle Turtora Zagardo
Graffiti says "CATALONiA does NOT SURRENDER" on a power box (maybe?) in the center of Girona Spain's new town.

I like to plan my walking tours for the first day that I’m in a new place – if one is available – so that I experience the city in the context of the history, myths, and legends, that I just learned. Larger cities might have lots of companies that offer these tours, however I always start with the local historical society and http://www.freewalkingtour.com.

A woman's feet in Birkenstock sandals, on a beautifully cobbled street in Girona, Spain.

Pro Tips:

  • Good walking shoes are a must – tours generally last about 2 hours.
  • Take a camera with extra batteries and memory cards. You’re likely to see lots of things you can’t even dream up right now, and you never know when you’ll want to take a long video or snap 1000 action shots.
  • Take small coins/bills in the currency of the country. There might be snacks or treats along the way, or an unexpected cash-only shopping opportunity.
  • While a http://www.freewalkingtour.com tour is free, the guides hugely appreciate a tip if it fits into your budget. It’s a great way to thank them for their time and research.
The church stairs in Girona Old Town

What is your number one top travel tip for getting to know a new place?

Xoxo,

Michelle

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