Your trip is in full swing. You’ve landed. Maybe you are waiting for your bags or catching the bus to the rental car place. Maybe you are already on your way to your hotel. Now what?
After you pick up your rental car and head to your hotel, think about leaving. Sounds depressing, right? Not really. Actually, the best time to figure out the fastest and easiest way out of town is on your way in. You can avoid some of the stress or lost time by scoping out the airport as you wait for your bags. How far is it from the car rental counter or return area to the terminal? Does the bus come every 10 minutes or every 30 minutes? Check to see where the nearest gas station is located. Ask for a map at the car rental place that shows how to get back to it.
Maybe you are not renting a car and are taking a bus to the hotel. Check with the front desk at the hotel for the bus schedule so you know how much time it will take to get back to the airport.
Also, when you check in at your hotel be sure to ask about check-out times and see if you can leave without stopping at the front desk. Ask for a map of restaurants in the area. Then check that against sites like TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon, Yelp, and others.
I always set my clock to the new time zone. That helps me adjust. It also helps to get outside to check where your hotel is in relation to the Metro, the parking garage, etc.
A friend of mine tells me he takes photos of everything when he first arrives in a new place. Things are new to him and fresh in his mind and he has photos of street signs, buildings, architecture, etc. that he might not think to shoot later on in his visit.
Don’t forget to charge up any electronics when you get to your room. Also, check for the best and safest place to store any valuables. Hopefully you did not bring valuable jewelry, but you still may have something that needs to be stored away. Ask the front desk about room safes or if they have a safe for individual guest access.
I let friends and family know where I will be before I leave home. It’s also a good idea to let them know you have arrived.