Think tours and you probably picture large groups of visitors from different parts of the world trailing after a guide who takes them to see the typical sights of the city. You’ll see people scanning maps and brochures ticking off the boxes and thinking they’ve seen everything there is to see in the town.

But, check out the Free Pittsburgh Walking Tours website and you’ll learn about how walking tours are exciting alternatives. You’ll experience the lesser-known charms of the city you’re visiting, taste the local cuisine, interact with the locals for interesting cultural knowledge, and discover other facets that guide books overlook.

However, if you’re planning on exploring a new city or town on foot, you may want to keep a few factors in mind.

1. You could be dealing with varying terrain

While some cities have a relatively flat terrain, others could be located in hilly areas with sloping roads. Or, the lanes could be muddy, gravelly, or unpaved if you’re checking out pastoral towns or the infrequently-visited sections of the city.

If you have trouble navigating rough roads, you may want to check in advance for the type of terrain you will be walking over. Like the folks on Trip Savvy explain, plan your walking tours accordingly or come prepared with the right shoes and other gear so you remain comfortable on your vacation.

2. Your kids may not be able to handle the exertion

lake toya mount usu hike

If you’re travelling with kids, choose excursions that they can handle easily. Younger kids may not be able to walk long distances or they may need to take breaks often. You may also want to choose tours that hold particular interest for them.

Keep in mind that joining groups of all adults when you have kids is a bad idea. You’ll slow down the pace of the activity for the other participants. You’ll also end up tiring out little legs and have a cranky child on your hands.

To introduce young explorers to the joys of walking tours, choose shorter, easy trips that they’re sure to enjoy.

3. You may not be able to endure extreme weather conditions

Going on explorations on foot typically means spending time in the outdoors. At the time of organizing the trip, you may want to check the local forecast for an overview of the expected weather conditions.

For instance, if the temperatures could be too high and humid or if may be raining or snowing. This factor is especially important if you plan on vacationing during off-season or backpacking through the town.

Bring along the proper supplies or postpone the trip until the weather is more suitable.

4. You’ll visit only specific sections of the city

Nineizaka (Ninenzaka) Kyoto, Things to do in Kyoto, kyoto attractions, kyoto tourist spots, kyoto sightseeing

Nineizaka, Kyoto

While walking tours are great for getting under the skin of the city, the fact remains that you can spend only a limited time in your destination. And, it is impossible to see an entire city within a few days by exploring on foot. Expect that you can cover only targeted sections which is why you may want to visit only the areas that you are most likely to enjoy.

For instance, history buffs may want to visit museums, monuments, and other places of interest that take you down memory lane.

But, if you’re on a gastronomic holiday, you’ll want to try the street food and small local cafes. To see more of the city, The New York Times advises that you combine your walking excursions with additional activities like say, hop-on hop-off bus tours. Such trips allow you to choose the typical attractions of the city you want to see entirely and drive by the others.

5. Your fitness levels may not match the excursions

Walking around a city can be far more exerting as compared to bus or car tours as this article on Smarter Travel warns. Before finalizing your trip, be sure that you can comfortably walk for hours. And, pan for the possibility of aching legs and feet and other kinds of discomfort.

A good move is to condition your fitness levels well in advance by training regularly. Go on long hikes around your hometown preferably choosing trails that are similar to the terrain in your destination. Once you’ve prepared your body, the walking tour will be a lot more enjoyable.

6. You’ll have to follow the pace of the other participants

winter-hiking-what-to-wear-for-females

Are you concerned about signing up with professional agencies or individual guides and having to follow the pace and interests of the other participants in the group? If you think the seniors or kids may slow you down, you can always join walking tours that have like-minded enthusiasts and people with similar age and fitness levels.

Every city has many locals that enjoy showing visitors around and to find them, you’ll only need to do some research. Alternatively, buy a map or rely on Google and your instincts to find the best locations to visit in your destination.

7. You may find the city unfamiliar and confusing

When you’re visiting an unknown city, it is understandable that you may have some amount of trepidation about the places you’ll see and the people you’ll meet. A great idea is to find out everything you can before leaving home perhaps, by contacting a certified travel agency.

When you reach the town, befriend local people or rely on your hotel management for in-depth details that can prove useful. Chatting up with fellow travellers and servers at restaurants, cafes, and diners can also help familiarize you with the best places to see and visit.

Walking tours are becoming the first choice for many travellers wanting to see the hidden sights of a city and having unusual experiences. But, if you intend to embark on a journey of discovery, consider signing up with a good agency or individual guides who show you around their town. You’re sure to enjoy every moment of your holiday.


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Isabel Leong

Isabel Leong

An explorer at heart, the world is Isabel's playground. She enjoys seizing every moment exploring every hideout and doing the unimaginable, like bungee jumping in Phuket and couchsurfing in Europe. If she had wings, she’d definitely be soaring right now. Also a fitness trainer, if she’s not at the gym, you can find her doing yoga or rock climbing! Read more about her on belaroundtheworld.com/about.