I book flights, I search accommodation and then I googled ‘top things to do in….’. This is my go-to routine before every trip I take for as long as I can remember. But the problem with this is, Google isn’t a good traveller. Sure, it points you in the right direction for the big and obvious – but isn’t it the little and the wonderful that you are really after when you visit somewhere?
Take Dublin for example. Google will tell you to visit the Guinness Storehouse when you come to Dublin, and it’s a great experience – but there are so many more places in Dublin to visit that would give you a perfect, authentic experience. Personally if someone was to ask me what to do in the city I would point them towards the seaside cliffwalks, the pubs on Camden Street, one of the many doughnut shops sprinkled around the city. These are all the things that I think make a great experience in Dublin, not a tour of an old factory of an alcoholic drink.
The best part about Hvar? The boat we rented that let us explore the water surrounding it. Rome? The thousands of side streets all with a hidden shops and buildings. Budapest? Gellért hill and the wonderful view it gives you of the city. These are all things that I stumbled upon while I was away, or were recommended through word of mouth and they were the parts that I remember the most.
Call me bias but I love reading travel blogs about peoples first-hand experiences in a new country or city. There are places that I have been turned off because these blogs tell me more of a behind the scenes story to the gorgeous Instagram pictures you always see, and there are places I would never have dreamed to visit that I am now dying to go to because of the amazing things I have read. Google is fine if you are okay with doing the top, bog standard tourist attractions in a city and these are usually great (The Colosseum is everything, and more!) – but there is so much more to a city than a really tall building or an impressive looking clock. It’s the little things that give the city it’s real character, and for me that is definitely something I want to try and experience when I go away.
What do you do before travelling? Do you read up on blogs, google the best things to do – or just wing it?!