Is there anything more exciting than packing your bags for a holiday and the anticipation of exploring a brand new city? For me it is one of my favourite things to do, so for today's post I thought I would dedicate a whole post on how to prepare for it so you can get the most out of your few days in a new city.

One thing about going to European cities is that it can be expensive depending on where you go that is. Accommodation can be pricey, even flights can be pricey so you really do have to plan prior to your trip so you can get the best value for your money. I will start with picking your flights my first tip is to check what airlines fly to your desired destination then compare prices, also be careful what day you buy your flights, for some strange reason Tuesday seems to be an expensive day to buy flights and weekends can also be pricey so midweek is a good option. Also sign up to the airline newsletters so you are aware of offers and sales. Also check out their social media to stay up to date with their offers you be surprised the bargain you can pick up when they have sales. I have noticed a few sales tend to be when we have bank holidays. Also one last tip about flights is not to book last minute sometimes they can be very pricey but again it depends on how popular the flight is etc.

When it comes to accommodation in your preferred destination you really have to research research research. What might look like the perfect location hotel it might be the worst place ever. One thing I like to do is read other travellers reviews on trip advisor as you know everyone really likes to be honest on that site so nothing is sugar coated, which is good, especially when your paying for something. Another tip for hotels is why not try an Air B&B they seem to be all the rage at the moment and they are cheaper, just a thought if hotels are out of your budget. Also shop around for hotels one site might give you one price but another site could give you a cheaper price just shop around until you find the perfect bargain.
Now a weekend isn't that long to explore a city but with planning you will get it done. Before you leave for your trip plan where you want to go, look online to see what people recommend seeing, check out blog posts on people's travel diaries and get as much information as possible. My next step that I like to do is to make an itinerary now it might seem nerdy but waking up every morning trying to decide what to do for the day is time wasting, so having a schedule really does work. I like to plan everything but I am very strict when it comes to getting things done, you don't have to be as Monica Gellar as me. I like to buy myself a travel guide of the city before I go and mark down everything I want to see then plan my days around that.  Then I do research on how I can get to see everything do I do bus tours etc or just take the metros I really do plan every last detail but it really does work especially if you are only in a city for the weekend. Talking of bus tours in particular the hop on hop off ones,  I highly recommend them again though depending on where you go, I have been on some and they have been amazing and such great value but on other cities they can be a little underwhelming, I would recommend reviewing them before you go, but they are a great way to see everything in the city in such a short space of time.

Going back to the travel guide books I mentioned they are a great little investment as they give such great information on things to avoid, how to get around the city and where to stay etc. I like the Eyewitness Top 10 range as I find they give the best info and they also offer a mini map which can come in handy and some useful phrases for whatever city you going to. Also talking of phrases it great to learn the basic please, thank you etc for whatever city you are visiting, It makes things easier and I think its only polite that you try to speak the native language.

One last tip before I wrap this post up and that is getting from the airport, now if your not one to care about how much money you are spending or you are staying out of the city then grab yourself a taxi but always ask how much before you get in. However if you are like me and like to keep your money for the shops etc then research before you go cheaper ways to get from the airport most cities offer buses that go into the city centre and depending on where you are going metros and trains also go into the city for a lot less than a taxi as some city airports are about 40 mins out of the town centre so a taxi can be pricey.

So there you have it my tips on planning a weekend city break. I guess the key is to plan everything if you are wanting to get things done, if you are just going away to relax and not too bothered about attractions etc you don't have to go overboard but its good to know things before you go.
That all being said I am going to Milan in a few days and if anyone has any tips or recommendations then please comment below would really appreciate it.

Check out my Guide to Barcelona where I offer tips on how to get there, what to see and where to eat.