Do as the locals do
Get creative on Instagram, and it’s almost like having friends in random places. “I follow local bloggers, and when someone posts a cool photo, I click on the geotag and see who else has been there recently,” Rice says. “Then, I can quickly look through those people’s photos to see what else they spotted (and even DM them with questions about their trip). People who just visited a place are a great source of insider information!”
Once you arrive, you can pick up some know-how in person. “I ask locals and hotel staff for ‘off the beaten path’ recommendations,” Karafin says. Honestly, ditching your Lonely Planet guide and going Yelp-free is a pretty fast way to make new friends.
Opt for convenience over penny-pinching
For time-poor weekend jet-setters, Rice’s No. 1 tip is to prioritize convenience. UberPool might sound like a good way to cut down costs, but is that $4.32 really worth the 30-minute detour? “It’s worth splurging on speedy transportation to/from the airport, a centrally located hotel, and skip-the-line services at the attractions you want to see,” she says. “When I spent a weekend in Paris, I splashed out on a private tour of the Louvre. I’m glad I did, because otherwise, I’d have been waiting for hours in the insanely long line -- impractical on a very tight schedule.”
Don't get bogged down in an itinerary
You don’t have much time, but you’re exploring a new place -- not disabling a bomb. There’s no need to pack an activity into every second of your trip. “Take it easy on the first day,” Karafin advises. “Do a few things, but don’t go to bed too late (especially if there is a time difference). After a good night’s sleep, you can wake up early the next morning and get lost in the local streets. There’s no better way to get immersed in local culture than by becoming a part of it -- walk around aimlessly, visit small mom-and-pop shops, and talk to locals.”