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I prefer to plan my trips as well ahead as possible so that I can get the maximum enjoyment from them.
If it's a city break I generally try to get in a guided walking tour of the area, so that I can hear some local knowledge.
Failing that - a hop on, hop off bus option is a good alternative.
How much I spend on accommodation depends on what activity I'm up to. I'm comfortable in all accommodation types once they are clean and in a fairly central/ convenient location.