I love a walkable vacation! You know what I mean when I say walkable right?
I'm talking about those vacations where you wake up and take a stroll to a local cafe nearby for breakfast. You people watch for 30 minutes as you enjoy a cappuccino and Smoked Salmon Benedict (one of my favorite brunch items). Once you finish breakfast, you head to your first activity of the day which is just a short 5 minute street car ride away - AND it costs less than $5 to get there.
I'm all for the cheap & reliable transportation when I go out the country, especially when I'm solo traveling! Spending $15-20 on a taxi or Uber ride every time you want to go somewhere adds up quickly and can take away from the authentic, local experience of visiting a new country.
So here's 5 functional, easy-to-do tips you can use to make your next vacation walkable and save money on transportation!
Stay in a big/old city.
Big cities are a great place to start when you're trying to make your vacation more walkable. Because of the high density of people, there's a lot more restaurants, bars, activities, and events happening in a close range so you don't have to travel far to have a different experience.
Old cities are also a great place to start, because when they were built, cars didn't exist in the same manner or capability. People lived and worked within a few blocks of one another so it only made sense to have everything important in one centralized location.
Old cities were built so that things were much closer together and accessible for the townspeople (they also did this to make sure the classes didn't mix, but that's a story for another day). That's why restaurants and apartments in places like Paris or Rome are small and close together. The older the city - the more likely it will have important locations like grocery stores, hotels, restaurants, bars, and event spaces in a centralized area.
Get a hotel near the city centre or in a well-populated location.
There's always a lot going on in the city centre so it will be easy to access restaurants, events, bars and other activities on foot. In many city centre's, they have mechanisms to allow pedestrians to walk around easier like sidewalks and cross walks.
Some cities like Amsterdam also have mechanisms for cyclists like their own lanes and lights. So you might opt for renting a bike and getting around that way. It's a lot cheaper and more fun than riding in a taxi.
Even if you aren't in the city centre, if you can stay in a well-populated area where there's a lot of residential housing, you'll also find other things residences need, like restaurants, grocery stores and bars. My favorite website to find nice hotels in the city center or populated areas are Expedia and Google.
Think about an area near where you live that's highly populated. All the big brands like McDonalds, Walmart, Starbucks and others are usually all within a half mile radius. You'll see a similar layout in highly populated areas overseas.
Research and use public transportation.
Not every country has a comprehensive public transportation system. This tip will only be useful in certain countries, because most places that face lot's of economic depression or war will not offer a good, safe public transportation system.
Most western European countries have reliable and safe public transportation options, as well as the more populated Asian countries like Korea, Japan, Singapore and China.
Canada's public transportation is fairly good and Mexico has a few local transportation systems that are safe to use.
Many countries in Central and South America also have public transportation that is moderately safe to use.
As you can tell, lots of countries offer public transportation at little cost, so do your research before you arrive to your destination!
It's important to make sure that you check for accessibility points of the public transportation system, but also safety of the area you'll be traveling in. There are instances where terrorist groups or local gangs attack public transport in the hopes of finding wealthy (American/British) travelers so be diligent about checking things like this before purchasing a ticket and hopping on.
Choose activities and tours close to your hotel location.
When the activities are close by, you can simply walk or catch the public transport to get where you need to go. It's a lot quicker and cheaper than getting an Uber to go to your activities.
Be mindful though! This tip can limit what kind of activities you're able to do. For example, if you're an adventure seeker and want to get out into the wilderness away from all the noise, but you're staying in the big city, you may not be able to reach your activity by simply walking to taking the local bus.
If you're an adventure seeker but also want to have a more walkable vacation, western Europe is a great place to vacation. The transportation system in countries like Germany, Italy, and France will not only give you access to the city limits, but also to the countryside where untouched nature resides.
Wear comfortable shoes & clothes so you can stay moving.
It's not impossible to walk the city streets in 4 inch heels or a suit and tie, but it'll definitely be harder and very uncomfortable. It's so important to wear the right clothing when you're trying to make your vacation walkable, because the outfit can literally be the deciding factor on whether or not you'll be calling a taxi. I know it is for me and my travel friends.
Stick to flat comfortable shoes, breathable cotton clothes (or something insulated if it's cold), a hat, sunglasses, and always bring something to protect yourself from the rain. Poncho, umbrella, or rain jacket will do!
I always bring my shoe inserts when I remember, and that makes walking 10x easier. Here's a link to the ones I like!
If you have a certain look you're going for and don't want to sacrifice the look, just bring a pair of comfortable shoes with you. As long as your feet are good, you'll be good.
Hopefully these tips can help you make your vacation more walkable, so you spend more time exploring and sightseeing the local community - and less time in the car trying to get there.
Which tip was the most helpful for you? Tell me in the comment section and don't forget to share these with your travel friends! Talk soon.