When you’re on a bit of a budget, 3-5 day holidays are a winner. They cost less, you don’t have to pack as much and are generally less stressful. But they do come with a catch: you’ve still got to feel like you’ve been on holiday and seen the place you visited. It’s all well and good to spend a bit less, but it would feel pretty rubbish if you planned a whole holiday and then didn’t see anything.
So, here’s my ultimate guide for seeing a whole city in a matter of days. So far, this is how I’ve done all of my city breaks and I’ve always come home feeling like I got the most out of the trip.
Just to give you an idea: in less than 5 days in Amsterdam I saw the palace, 3 museums, the Anne Frank House, Oude Kerk, Vondelpark, the Amsterdam sign, the red light district, went out for dinner every day and still had time left over for free exploring. And I promise it isn’t difficult! (If you stick to this plan…)
Make A List Of Everything There Is To Do
First thing’s first: do your research. I always like to look up the best things to do and see for wherever I’m going, and make a huge list. Look at pictures and reviews to work out if it’s the kind of thing you’d enjoy and if it is, it goes on the list.
Work Out Your Budget & Wittle Your List Down
Now, obviously you won’t be able to do every single thing on there, so the next thing I do is work out my budget for the trip and decide which things I want to do the most. If you’re on a tighter budget, decide on one thing to spend each day on. If you have a slightly larger budget, maybe 2 or 3 things per day. Remember restaurants and public transport need to be factored in too!
Make A Plan For Every Day You’re There
…and stick to it! This is probably my top tip. I love organisation and making lists, so I always make a plan for every single day I’m there and what time I should be in each place. Then, when you get to each destination, you don’t have to worry about rushing around or missing anything because you’ve already factored everything in (this includes travel times between destinations). It’s also a good idea to spend each day in one area. For example, if a few museums are close to each other, try to do them all in the same day.
Research Tourist Passes & Discount Cards
Another one of my top tips is to find out whether there are any tourist cards available for the place you’re going to. For example, the Museum Kaart in Amsterdam which allows you into practically every single museum and church. It’s around €60 and then you don’t have to worry about spending any more money on tourist stuff. I’m pretty sure Paris also has one although I didn’t get one there.
Mark Each Destination On A Map
This ties in with the day plan, but I like to take my phone with me with addresses for each place I want to go to in that day and work out how to get between them via public transport, including how long it’ll take and how much it’ll cost. Again, there are cards available in lots of cities for cheaper transport (in Amsterdam you can buy 3-day and 2-day tickets).
Basically: it’s all in the planning. If you’d rather go with the flow and see what you find, that’s up to you. But I know I always feel much better coming home from a trip knowing I saw as much as I possibly could. I hope this helps you with your trip!