Exploring Unfamiliar Cities: Tips for Expats

  1. Expat lifestyle
  2. Travel tips for expats
  3. Sightseeing in unfamiliar cities

Moving to an unfamiliar city as an expat can be a daunting prospect. With a new culture, language, and customs to get accustomed to, it can also be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to exploring the city. Sightseeing in an unfamiliar city can be a great way to get to know the local area and its attractions, but it can also be a challenge if you don't know where to start. In this article, we'll provide some tips for expats looking to explore unfamiliar cities, from getting to grips with local transport, to finding the best places to go sightseeing. Exploring a new city can be a thrilling experience for an expat, but it can also be intimidating.

To help make your travels stress-free, read on for tips on planning and preparation, choosing the right accommodation, transportation, and more. When it comes to planning and preparation, research is key. Start by researching the city in advance – learn about its culture and customs, become aware of any safety issues, and understand the currency. This will help you to get the most out of your experience.

Choosing the right accommodation

is an important step in ensuring a comfortable stay. Research different types of accommodations (hotels, AirBnB, hostels, etc.), consider location and accessibility to public transport, read reviews online, and budget accordingly.

It’s also a good idea to book in advance to avoid disappointment.


is an important factor to consider when exploring a new city. Public transport is typically the most economical option (bus, train, subway), but taxi services, ride-sharing services, rental cars, and bike rentals are all available. Consider the pros and cons of each option and any safety considerations to keep in mind. You can also save money while sightseeing in unfamiliar cities. Research local discounts (student discounts, museum memberships), take advantage of free attractions (parks, walking tours), find affordable eateries away from tourist areas, and use public transport as much as possible. Finally, it’s important to explore the city safely.

Be aware of your surroundings at all times, avoid dark alleys or isolated areas at night, dress appropriately for the culture/location, know where to find help (emergency services/tourist information centers), use maps or navigation apps to get around, and keep important items (passport, wallet) secure. Exploring unfamiliar cities can be a daunting prospect for expats. However, with the right planning and preparation, you can make your journey stress-free and enjoyable. By researching the city in advance, choosing the right accommodation, understanding transportation options, budgeting wisely and exploring safely – you can feel confident in your travels.

Transportation Options

When exploring unfamiliar cities, transportation is one of the most important things to consider. Fortunately, there are a variety of transportation options available depending on your budget and needs.

Public transportation is often the cheapest and most convenient way to get around a new city. Researching bus routes, train lines, or metro systems ahead of time can help you plan efficient routes and save time. If the public transportation system in the city is unfamiliar, make sure to research the fare structure and any special rules or restrictions. If public transportation isn’t an option, rideshare services such as Uber, Lyft, and Ola are an increasingly popular way to get around. Some cities also offer bike-sharing programs, which can be a great way to explore the city while getting some exercise.

Finally, if you need to get from one place to another in a hurry, taxis can be a reliable option. Be sure to check the local regulations for taxi fares and safety standards before using this option.

Exploring Safely

Exploring unfamiliar cities can be a thrilling experience for an expat, but it is important to make sure you stay safe during your travels. Researching the area before you arrive is key, and there are a few other safety tips to keep in mind. Make sure to be aware of your surroundings at all times, and if something feels off or unsafe, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation.

It's also wise to carry a phone with you in case of emergency, and keep a copy of your passport and other important documents on your person. Be sure to dress appropriately, as dressing too revealingly can draw unwanted attention. It's also important to research local customs and laws to make sure you are following the rules and respecting the culture. When it comes to transportation, it's best to use official taxi services that have been recommended by your accommodation or other reliable sources.

Additionally, take note of any areas that should be avoided, as well as directions on how to get back to your hotel or hostel from any location. Finally, staying in touch with family and friends while traveling is important for safety reasons. Make sure to let them know of your whereabouts so they know where you are and can reach out if needed.

Choosing Accommodation

When sightseeing in unfamiliar cities, one of the first things to consider is where you’ll stay. Whether you’re looking for a cozy Airbnb, a luxurious hotel, or a hostel, there are plenty of options available.

The key is to do your research and choose accommodation that meets your needs and budget. Before you book your stay, consider your priorities. If you’re travelling with a large group, look for a property that offers multiple bedrooms. If you’re hoping to explore the city on foot, select a place that’s close to attractions and public transportation. It can also be beneficial to read customer reviews and compare prices across different sites. Once you’ve found the perfect accommodation, make sure to check the cancellation policy.

In some cases, booking a flexible rate may be the best option so that you don’t get stuck with a hefty fee if you need to change your plans. Additionally, if you’re staying in an Airbnb or other rental property, always double-check the cleaning policy. By taking the time to research and compare your accommodation options, you can ensure that your stay is comfortable and stress-free. With these tips in mind, you can feel confident about sightseeing in unfamiliar cities.

Sightseeing on a Budget

Exploring a new city can be an exciting and affordable adventure for expats. With a little planning and preparation, there are ways to maximize your sightseeing experience without breaking the bank.

One of the best ways to save money is to take advantage of free attractions. Many cities offer free walking tours, museums, and other attractions that are great for sightseeing and learning more about the local culture. Another way to save money while sightseeing is to look for discounted tickets or deals. Many museums and attractions offer discounts for students, seniors, and members of certain organizations.

Additionally, keep an eye out for special promotions or discounts on local websites or social media channels. When it comes to transportation, research your options before you arrive at your destination. Consider investing in a tourist card or pass which can help you save money on public transportation and even access some attractions for free. Look for city buses that offer hop-on-hop-off service as well as bike rentals or bicycle tours which can be a great way to explore the city in a cost-efficient manner. Finally, consider signing up for a food tour or trying street food.

Eating like a local is often much cheaper than dining at a restaurant and is a great way to sample different dishes and learn more about the local cuisine.

Planning & Preparation

Exploring a new city can be an exciting opportunity for expats, but it can also be stressful. To prepare for your travels, it is important to plan ahead and make sure you have all the necessary information you need. Here are some tips on how to plan and prepare for sightseeing in unfamiliar cities.


Doing some research ahead of time can help you make the most of your travel experience. Look for information about the city’s history, popular attractions, must-visit locations, and any other interesting facts.

You should also read up on local customs and etiquette to avoid any cultural faux pas.

Local Contacts:

Making local contacts is another great way to ensure a smooth experience in an unfamiliar city. If you know someone who lives in the city or a nearby area, ask them for advice on the best places to visit and stay. They may even be able to provide you with helpful tips on transportation and other services.


Finding the right accommodation is essential when sightseeing in unfamiliar cities. Do your research to find a place that fits your budget and needs.

Look for reviews of the hotel or hostel you’re considering, as well as information about the area’s safety. Make sure you book early to secure your reservation.


It’s important to know what your transportation options are when visiting an unfamiliar city. Research public transportation options such as bus, metro, and taxi services, as well as car rental companies. Also look into shuttle services or other private transportation options if you prefer.


Safety should always be a top priority when exploring a new city.

Learn about the city’s crime rate and be aware of your surroundings. If you’re traveling alone, use common sense and stay alert. Be sure to carry a map and some local currency with you at all times. Exploring unfamiliar cities can be an exciting experience for expats with the right preparation. Researching in advance and taking safety precautions are essential to make sure your travels are stress-free.

Choosing the right accommodation, transportation options, and sightseeing on a budget can help you get the most out of your travels. By exploring safely and mindfully, expats can confidently explore unfamiliar cities and make the most out of their experience.

Timothy Haverty
Timothy Haverty

Hipster-friendly social media advocate. Unapologetic music evangelist. Amateur twitteraholic. Incurable social media geek. Freelance food aficionado. Evil music junkie.

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