Your First Hour

You’ve seen the airport, and you had a quick view of your hotel room – now what do you do?

You have just arrived in a new city, you’ve been there for maybe an hour between the craze that has become all airports and the check in / check out hotel line, but now – now the city is yours.

So what is the first thing, or things, you do upon arrival in a new place?  Do you explore just your hotel? Do you venture out nearby to find food? Do you go for a random, yet leisurely walk? Or have you mapped out your entire visit down to the minute?

I’m a meeting planner/travel director, so the majority of my travel is business related.  Regardless of why I’m traveling the very first thing I do when I get somewhere is to take a picture from my hotel window (#viewfromthewindow).  Once I enter my hotel room, before I have even really settled in the room, I open the blinds and shades, I snap my photo and immediately post it Instagram (of course linked to my Twitter as well) I do the same as soon as I am settled on the plane too – the view of the airport from my plane window, and, depending where I’m flying to, or over, I’ll even take a few mid-flight.

But I digress, back to my first hour in a new place.  I’ve taken my window picture and now I am off.  You see, I have already scouted out my surroundings.  I know where the gym is so no need to explore my hotel.  I have located, via google maps, where my hotel is situated so I can get the more value out of the my first few hours.  I have decided what I would like to see or do, well, I’ve at least narrowed it down.  My first stop usually becomes the hotel concierge.  They tend to be extremely knowledgeable about the city and what is right out the hotel door.  This gives me a chance to see if any of the items I picked, match up with theirs.

From there I am off.  I leave the comfort and control of my hotel and venture out in to my new surroundings.  I try to walk everywhere I need to go, or use the public transportation.  Now only is this a money saver, but it gives me a chance to get a real feel for the place I am visiting.  I go and find food, or do something somewhat touristy.  You see, as much as I do consider myself a traveler, I also find value in seeing some of the ‘tourist’ sites in a city.  They wouldn’t be considered a tourist site, if they didn’t have value.  Now some of the more touristy sites in some cities, really aren’t all they are cracked up to be.   But when you go to NY, you have to to the top of the Empire State Building, the sites are unbelievable.  You wouldn’t skip that just because it’s something ALL tourists do would you?  Even as a native NYer, I had to do it once, it’s just something everyone needs to do at least once.  I still it invigorating walking through Times Square just before all the Broadway Shows go on, it’s alive and thriving.  Yes, it’s become a tourist meca of the city, but it’s TIMES SQUARE! Of you course you need to visit it.

You see, I’m a bucket list kind of girl, I travel to do things and see things, so in my first hour, I like to pick the one thing that I have been dying to do in that city, or the one thing that I will remember the most because it is just so unique to that city, or because it is something somewhat tourist, but really it is just something to experience.  That is how I try to spend my first hour.  What is your ideal first hour when visiting a new place?

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