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City Smarts: How to Travel Best in a Big City

AAA offers tips for navigating a city when traveling.

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Travel in big cities like a savvy local.

"Navigating a big city can be tough, but with a little prep, there's so much you can do." —AAA  Travel Counselor Marina Axline

1. Consult a map

Before you start planning, get the lay of the land. Go to AAA.com and download the AAA International Destination Guide for the city you're visiting. In it, you'll find street maps—plus handy information on lodging, dining, communication, and transit.

2. Choose a hotel by location

Pick your activities first, then find a hotel room nearby. "I'll see people booking cheaper rooms far from all the action," Axline says. "Then they spend more time and money just getting back and forth."

3. Use public transit

Save the stress of negotiating traffic and parking by taking public transit. If you research subway, bus, and train routes, Axline says, "you'll have a much easier time getting around."

4. Divide and conquer

The truth is, you can't see everything, so pick the sights that most interest you, and explore everything in the same neighborhood at once.

5. Hire a local guide

No one knows a place like someone who lives there. AAA Travel counselors can help you arrange tours led by expert guides, who will give you an inside perspective on the city.

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This article was first published in Summer 2018. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.