“Touristing”: The Art of Sightseeing

Written by Mikaela February 12, 2016

Three cities in four days. That about sums up my first extended travel weekend. Going into it, I knew I would be running (literally) off espresso and it all worked out because I had the most amazing weekend. I wouldn’t recommend this busy travel tactic to all but I wouldn’t discourage it either. These three tips allowed me to make the best out of a “city hopping” weekend:

1. Wear Comfortable Shoes. No Excuses.
Do you know that app on your phone that tracks your daily steps? I opened it for the first time this past weekend and I was averaging between 13 to 15 miles a day. My legs felt like I just did squats for hours. Though it may be obvious, comfy shoes are a must. Yes, you may think you want to fit in with the fashionable locals but you won’t care about that when you are standing in the middle of the Colosseum (or any amazing destination) and tricked into thinking about how comfy that cold stone ground looks like because your feet are too tired to support you.

2. Literally Stop and Breath.
Experiencing multiple historic and beautiful sights in one day/weekend can be exhilarating. There is never a dull moment and I was constantly saying “Wow, what is life right now?” On the other hand, it can be easy to just see the sights, take too many pictures, and speed to the next destination. What made my “city hopping” weekend memorable, was when I literally stopped in my tracks, took a deep breath, and analyzed at least five aspects that added value or importance to what I was seeing or doing. Almost like I was mentally documenting the sights and feeling of that moment in life.

3. Map It Out.
There are two main recommendations I can give you: take the city map from your hostel and agree with your group on what time to wake up. Most hostels will have a free city map with the most important sights on it; take it and circle everything that you want to see. Then agree with your group about what time you all want to head out the door for the day. I made the most out of my days because I knew where I wanted to go and made sure I got up early enough to see it all. Even leaving in time to explore and get lost is a great time.

With roughly 60 miles etched into my boots from Barcelona, Rome, and Venice, I feel like I can say sightseeing (when ‘city hopping’) is a sport; an exhilarating and life-high sport. Of course, it was all well supported by espresso (and chocolate croissants), but why not? So, when you start your travel journeys, just remember to wear your comfy shoes, mentally document your experiences, and plan your days according to your time crunch.