‘How do you do it?”
The most common question we get after every trip we take is “How do you pack so much into your vacations with so little time?” People are genuinely amazed at how much we experience, see, and do no matter where we go or how long we are there. We can really pack a lot into a short period of time. Many of our vacations include visits to cities where we have only 24 or 48 hours to spend there.
Is this type of travel for you?
As budget travellers, we don’t have a lot of money to spend and a huge desire to go everywhere, so when we have a chance to visit somewhere, we pack as much in as possible. This is not going to be for everyone, but if you are up for a quick tour, we hope to inspire you with our 48 hours or less itineraries.
In order to pack your vacation full of adventures and memories, you have to be in the right mindset. What I mean by that is, if you like to meander the streets, or spend time shopping in all of the little shops of every cute town or relax for hours by a pool or on a patio with a drink, this may not be for you. OR….is it? It depends on what you are willing to sacrifice to make that happen. We certainly get a lot of shopping in, we enjoy the local food (and beverages), we take tours, we visit well-known sites, and we discover lesser known places.
Unpack your expectations and set out on your plan.
The key to any good vacation is to have a good plan and have a lot of fun. When we plan a vacation we always make sure to schedule in time for adventure and fun. We start by looking at where we are going – and what our priorities are while there. What are the places we have to see, and what things do we need to do? We use these must-see’s as our springboard and then fan out from there.
Hop On – Hop Off
One of the best ways to see an entire city in 48 hours or less, is to take a Hop On/Hop Off Bus tour. These are in many major cities, and there are some in many smaller cities around the world as well. We find Hop On/off bus trips to be indispensable to make the most of our short stays. Guaranteed, the bus companies know what they are doing – they are ensuring you will see all of the hot spots in the city, and they will have bus stops for you to get off/on near the major attractions. If you get your bus ticket early enough in the day – you can spend day one doing the site seeing and making the most of your day. The prices of these bus tours are usually very reasonable, and definitely worth every penny.
These Boots are made for Walkin’
In order to make the most of a 24 or 48-hour itinerary, there will be a lot of walking. Be prepared for that. If you cannot do as much walking as we can (which is getting less for me), it goes without saying, that what you experience becomes limited. I have recently found myself slowing down, and it has affected our travels. On a trip to the Island of Sardinia, I found walking up the hills and through the winding side streets to really start to take a toll on my knees. This came as a bit of a surprise, and I had to slow down. Wear comfortable walking shoes, bring water, and pace yourself. Understanding (and respecting) your own limitations is very important. Your health and well-being should always be your first priority.
Map it Out:
Don’t let the stereotypes of the ‘tacky tourist’ – walking around with their map in hand and looking silly worry you.
Having a good map is a good thing. There are some great resources that will help you navigate your way through the city with the most efficiency. In the lobby of your hotel, you will find many maps of the areas to highlight the hot spots. These are more frequently updated and relevant for the city, they have the key features of the cities, local coupons, and great suggestions for places to visit. Utilize the tourism services of your hotel or the city’s visitor information centre to help.
One of my favourite resources and you will see this mentioned a lot on this blog is DK Travel books. I love these books and have many of them that I always pick up prior to visiting a particular city. They have great maps that are easy to read and navigate, and amazing suggestions for places to go that you may not have thought about. I like to use post-it flags to identify areas of most interest for quick reference.
With a little planning and a willingness to not have to see absolutely everything, you will surprise yourself with how much you can actually pack into a short stay. So, take advantage of that long layover, or that cruise port of call, or the city on a road trip. An itinerary of 24 to 48 hours can be a lot of fun, and full of memories.