Ok, so before I start, I will say that if I have a suitcase, I drop that off (because who wants to carry that around? Not only is it bulky but it makes you stand out!). I go to whatever hotel I’m at (as long as it isn’t far out- if it is, skip this!)
But the first thing after that, my first port of call is always to find a lovely little local coffee shop to just sit and soak up the atmosphere. It sounds weird to say, but if anyone has been in this situation, you know. Being sat down and travel is so tiring! The amount of times I have to fight sleep on a train is crazy, I think the rocking puts me to sleep. And planes? Well I’d rather just try and block people out as much as I can, even though I REALLY don’t like sleeping next to strangers.
I try not to go to a chain place, because no matter how lovely they are, I don’t think they are the best place to start my experience. It’s sometimes hard to tell what’s what when your new, so I don’t stress too much, but if I am 100% stuck, I know I can always look at something online. This isn’t to say chains aren’t bad, I’m sure anyone will tell you, you can’t have a British experience without a Gregs! But a local place will give you so much, and it’s also good to support local businesses.
I can’t assume they speak English, so I always have what I want written down prior to going in. Never underestimate how much a smile will do! Human nature doesn’t change at a border, people will appreciate a smile from somebody trying.
Going from place to place can be disorientating, so taking a few minutes to yourself to sit, watch people go by, see how they interact and just get a feel for the country you’re in will help you no end. It will save you walking around with that out of touch tourist face!
You can also take the time to write (like I like to do) or plan your time ahead of you if you like to leave it until you get there.
Keep your eyes open, you never know what you might see!