Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Four Best Ways To Explore This Summer

Whether you’re vacationing or staycationing this summer, exploration is key. From discovering exciting historic monuments, delicious back-street delicatessens, or cute little boutiques, to rediscovering the city you call home, the excitement is in exploration. Summer is all about seeing new things, enjoying new experiences, and catching a few rays.

While the comfort of your own car is a great way to get around (and we all love a good bit of AC in the hot summer months), it’s not the best way to explore. There are no new smells or new flavors, and you’ve whizzed past any new sights before you really get a chance to take it in. When you’re in a car, you can’t just zip down an interesting looking side street, jump into an intriguing second-hand bookstore, or buy an ice-cream from a street vendor. You have to find places to park, follow the rules of the road, and chances are, you’re missing the best sights. So why not put the car away for the summer, and get out there on foot, by bike, in the air or in the water. Or a combination of all four! This really is the summer for exploration.

1. By air

For the explorers among us, there is nothing quite like seeing a place from above. Whether it’s the town you grew up in, or an entirely new place altogether, seeing it from the air is a whole new experience. The obvious way to do this is by helicopter, although not the cheapest. In areas which are popular with tourists, you may find helicopter tour operators offer some good deals, but if you keep an eye on Groupon and other offer sites, helicopter rides often pop up there too.

But helicopters aren’t the only way to explore the streets and scenery from a new angle. Gliders are often much cheaper, quieter, and you might even get a chance to take over the controls. They are usually taken up into the sky by airplanes with engines, and released to glide back down to earth, and the views are spectacular. So if you’re visiting a new city, or you want to make the most of staying at home this summer, search out a local gliding school and pay them a visit - you won’t regret it.

And, if all else fails, find the tallest building in your town and head to the top. There’s no better way to fall in love with a city than when you’re towering over, watching the tiny cars and even tinier people mill around. So as a pro-tip for any new city you visit - try to find a way to look down on the town from above. You’ll discover little parks and waterways, but most of all, it will give you an appreciation of the city from an entirely new angle.

2. By water

Exploring a new place by water brings an entirely new perspective to your adventure. The hustle and bustle of the streets is one thing, but getting out onto the river or the ocean is a fantastic change of pace. You could book yourself onto a short, chartered cruise or a water tour, but the best way, in my opinion, is getting out there on a kayak. It’s great exercise, but it’s also immensely liberating too.

You can even bring your own transportation. An inflatable kayak is easy to pack and transport, and you can take it on any adventure you like, without the hassle of trailers or roof racks on your car. Whether you take it down the river or across the ocean, you’re certain to see the scenery from a completely new angle. Just be sure to do your research first - some areas will have trespassing laws, and others might not be safe for kayaks, but when you find the right spot, it can be pure heaven.

3. By bike

Like traveling by car, you can hit a fair few sights in one day when you’re on the back of a bike. Unlike car travel, you can stop wherever you like, get off and walk without breaking any serious road traffic laws, and it’s great exercise too. You’re at street level, so you can still see the sights and experience the sounds, but you also have the freedom to drop down into mysterious, winding alleys, or to lock your bike up and head into a romantically authentic bistro whenever you feel like it. Whether you hire a bike at your destination or travel with it, it really is the best way to experience a city break. Many towns and cities also offer facilities to encourage visitors to get on their bikes, with free cycling schemes popping up all over the world. And you don’t have to worry about your carbon footprint, either.

Even if you’re staycationing this year, why not consider getting on your bike and making the most of the good weather? Whether you cycle to work, cycle to the park, or head out into the countryside for some fresh air, it’s fantastic exercise and a great way to see the world in a whole new way.

4. By foot

By far the best way to explore a new city is on foot. It gives you all the flexibility to stop and explore anything you desire. While some cities are far too big to get around by foot, be sure to look into their travel card options and make the most of the public transportation - it can be stressful to get used to, but you’re guaranteed an adventure. Once you’ve got the hang of it, the world is your oyster, and exploring everything by foot can be the most liberating way to get around. Don’t forget to pack the comfy shoes, though - it might not seem far, but when you’re exploring shops and museums all day, every day, your feet can start to get seriously sore.

Exploring a new city, or falling back in love with your own, is always better from a new perspective. Whether you want an entirely new angle by air or by water, or you just fancy a change of pace, it’s good to mix things up a bit. After all, exploring is all about finding all the fantastic secrets of your destination, and you just can’t do that from the driving seat of a moving vehicle.