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Making The Most of
24 Hours in Any City

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ByBus Travel Experts

Making The Most of 24 Hours in Any City

Exploring a city in just 24 hours is an exciting challenge. Planning and prioritising what you want to see and do is key to making the most of your time. It's important to focus on a few key attractions and also leave room for unexpected discoveries. With a well-thought-out plan, even a short visit can be memorable and fulfilling.

Before you go

Do your research

To get the most out of your travels, it's important to do a bit of digging before you go. Finding those must-see spots and hidden treasures in the city can totally transform your trip, making it way more than just a visit. It's about stumbling upon a cosy cafe hiding in a back alley, catching a stunning view away from the crowds, or discovering a piece of history that isn’t the headline of travel guides.

This pre-adventure planning will set the scene for an epic journey that speaks directly to what you love.

Itinerary planning

When it comes to creating a travel itinerary, think of it as art rather than science. A well-crafted itinerary has a healthy mix of big attractions and relaxing leisure time. The key is crafting a flexible and realistic plan that considers travel times, opening hours and allows for spontaneity! 

Balancing major attractions with unexpected pursuits gives your travel its unique flavour, ensuring you return home with stories that are truly your own.

Pack smart

A smart traveller knows that packing is an essential part of trip preparation. The art of packing for a day trip involves a careful selection of essentials, tailored to the weather and the day’s activities. It's about striking the perfect balance between being prepared and moving freely, ensuring that nothing weighs you down as you wander through new streets and landscapes. 

Essentials include comfortable shoes for exploring, a cag-in-a-bag to keep you at ease, and a compact daypack for those must-have items like water, a portable charger, and your camera.

Or, ditch the luggage!

Exploring a city in 24 hours means moving freely and not being bogged down by heavy luggage. Services like Stasher offer a smart solution by letting you store your bags in secure locations around the city. 

Never used a luggage holding service before? Here’s a breakdown of what to expect:

  1. Book ahead: Use the Stasher website or app to find and reserve storage near your destination or along your planned route.

  2. Drop off: Drop your bags off at a verified local business—be it a café, shop, or hotel. It's a quick process; just show your reservation and hand over your luggage.

  3. Explore unburdened: With your hands and shoulders free, you’re all set to enjoy your adventure without any luggage slowing you down! 

  4. Pick up when ready: Collect your belongings at a time that suits you, with most locations offering flexible hours.

Making the most of your day

Sunrise and breakfast

There's something absolutely magical about watching a city come alive as the sun rises. To truly embrace the new day, find a spot high enough to see the skyline. Whether it's a hilltop, a bridge, or the rooftop of a high building, the perfect spot offers not only a breathtaking view but a moment of tranquillity before the day fully begins.

Whether you make it to sunrise or not, there’s one thing you definitely won’t want to miss in a new city - breakfast!

Starting the day with local flavours is a must-do. Venture into a nearby breakfast spot that captures the essence of the city's culinary spirit. Whether it's a trendy café favoured online or a busy spot that's been serving locals for decades, indulge in something delicious that will fuel your explorations for the day.

Exploring the heart of the city

The best way to get to know the city is by visiting its landmark attractions. Compile a list of your personal must-visit landmarks, with a snapshot of what makes each unique, from historical significance to architectural wonders. Although often crowded, this is a great way to connect with the city's past and its present identity.

Taking a guided walk (often free!) or bike tour can illuminate the city’s history and culture in interactive and engaging ways. These tours are often led by locals, diving deeper into the stories and secrets that aren't found in guidebooks, providing a richer understanding of the city.

When hunger strikes, take a lunch break at another local spot. Whether it’s a restaurant that’s earned accolades for its national dishes or a hidden gem you happen to walk by, this is another opportunity to savour the local taste. Don’t be afraid to take recommendations! 

Cultural Immersion

No visit is complete without a trip to at least one museum or art gallery. Choose one that showcases something truly unique to the city – it could be contemporary art, historical artefacts, or even interactive exhibits. Many cities also have certain hours or days with free entry - so be sure to look online before you go!

A stroll through local markets not only allows for the selection of souvenirs, (do you love a magnet as much as we do?), but also offers a slice of daily life. It’s an experience filled with colours, smells, and the vibrant energy of traders and shoppers.

A different side of the city

As evening falls, find yourself enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of a street food market, for local cheap eats full of flavour, or go all out on a restaurant that offers a panoramic view of the twinkling cityscape. 

If you’ve still got energy to spare, dive into the city's nightlife. This could mean finding a lively bar or club with a local band or taking a night tour to see the city from a different angle. Feeling brave? Check out the city’s ghost tours! 

Relax and recap

To wind down, find a peaceful spot to enjoy the night views and take a moment to reflect on your big adventure!

Now is the perfect time to journal. Whether that's with pen and paper or an Instagram post, documenting your thoughts and experiences is a great memory capsule and a brilliant way to enrich your travel experience.

Extra travel tips

Stay connected

Staying present when travelling is the goal, but in a technology-first society, it’s important to remain connected for navigation, booking accommodation, or simply sharing your experiences with loved ones. One efficient way to ensure you're always online is by locating free Wi-Fi spots, which are often available in public areas such as cafes, libraries, and shopping centres.

Alternatively, purchasing a local SIM card upon arrival can offer you a more stable and potentially cost-effective way to stay connected throughout your trip. 

Safety first

Exploring a new city is an exciting adventure, but prioritising your safety is paramount.

Always familiarise yourself with the local emergency numbers and have them saved on your phone. When wandering around, be mindful of your surroundings, and try not to draw unnecessary attention to yourself with expensive gadgets or jewellery.

It’s also wise to inform someone trustworthy of your whereabouts, Find My iPhone is a great modern tool for this, especially if you’re planning to explore less touristy areas. Lastly, trust your instincts; if something feels off, it’s better to err on the side of caution and make a quick exit!

Public transportation

Navigating the city like a local often means getting familiar with its public transportation system. Be it buses, trams, subways, or even local trains, using public transportation can be an efficient and cost-effective way to explore your destination. Start by researching or asking for a map of the system and familiarise yourself with the main routes, especially those leading to and from your accommodation.

Don’t forget to check the operational hours and any potential strikes or planned works that could affect your travel.

Don’t get caught out, prepare for your onward journey

In the whirlwind of exploration and discovery, it's crucial to keep an eye on the clock, especially if your city adventure is part of a longer journey or you have a scheduled departure to your next destination.

Getting caught up in the fun is easy, but missing a crucial flight, train, or bus due to poor time management can quickly dampen the spirits of even the most enthusiastic traveller. Before starting your day’s adventure, remember to regularly check timetables, set alarms for departures and create a buffer zone in your itinerary to reduce stress during your travels.

Wrapping up your day

In just 24 hours, it’s possible to capture the essence of a city. This guide provides a blueprint, but the beauty of true exploration lies in the personal experiences of each individual visit.

So, deviate from the path, follow local recommendations, and let curiosity be your guide!