Yikes, you’re lost! You’re on your dream vacation, somewhere that you wanted to visit your entire life. You’re exploring, shopping, laughing, eating, and then all of a sudden BOOM, you are lost! Before your vacation turns into the movie Hostel, I am here to help. Below are seven tips to prevent getting lost abroad.
1. Google Maps
Google maps app is a lifesaver when traveling. You can type in any address around the world, and google maps will give you directions to get there. The best tip for using google maps is that you can download the entire country map to your device while connected to the internet. Once it is downloaded to your device of choice, it will work while offline.
2. Map Out Your Trip
Very seldom am I aimlessly wondering around when I travel. I normally know where I want to go. The best thing to do is to decide where you want to go that day and plan your route before you start the journey. Decide where you are going, which mode of transportation you will use to get there, and which areas of your trip are close to each other. The better you plan, the less likely you are to get lost.
3. Use a Ride-Sharing Company
Using UBER or companies the offer similar services is a great option. By doing this, you are almost guaranteed not to get lost. You can also hire a driver for the day. The driver is from the area and will know their way around, or how to get help if they are looking for a location. I have never gotten lost when I used a driver or rideshare service.
4. Use a Map
Maps may seem outdated due to advancements in technology. Maps still work and are an excellent option. You can trace your entire route on a map. If technology fails, and you are unable to use your phone, a map will always help. You can also normally obtain free maps at the airport or your hotel.
5. Ask Someone At Your Hotel
Before you start your journey, ask the clerk at your hotel how to get to a location. They live there and can offer help. Before you leave your hotel, you will have directions that will take you exactly where you want to go.
6. Recall Monuments
Always familiarize yourself with where you are. Is there a popular monument in your area? Are you near the Taj Mahal? Is the Eiffel Tower next to your hotel? Which direction is it in? What can you see from your hotel? Are there any popular monuments in the area? If you remember these important details, you can use them to find your way back, and explain to someone else who may be trying to help you find your way to a destination.
7. Mental Notes
I stated that I very seldom wander around aimlessly, but when I do, I take mental notes. Mental notes are along the same lines as recalling monuments, but this tip goes further than just monuments. If you use the train to get to a destination, remember where it was and which direction you went once you left the train station. If you’re walking, trace your steps and pay close attention. Take mental notes, and look back to see how far you are from your starting point. Taking photos may help as well.
What to do if You Are Lost
If you panic, it will make everyone uneasy. Take a deep breath and understand that you will get back to your original starting point, I promise! Once you relax, you will be able to come up with a solution. The last thing you want to do is get frustrated.
2. Ask a Local
Locals can offer help when you are lost. Not only do they know how to get you where you want to go, but they are more than willing to offer their assistance. Exercise caution when deciding who to ask, and if you do not feel comfortable, you can ask someone at a place of business, i.e., hotel or restaurant. Of course, during your research process, you learned common phrases; because of this, you will have limited communication issues.
3. Retrace Your Steps
It is time to think! What were you doing before you got lost? Where were you? What was in your hand? Look around you. Once you start retracing your steps and thinking about your last activities, you will normally be able to find your way back.
4. Get in a Cab
We all love it when life provides an easy way out. This step is self-explanatory! Stop thinking, stop looking, and stop asking. Hop in a cab, and let them take you where you need to go. Of course, you did your research, and you already know which taxi company is reliable and recommended. You will feel an immediate sense of relief using this option.
5. Connect to Wifi
Depending on where you are, you should be able to find a facility that has wifi. You will be able to connect to wifi and obtain important addresses and directions to get to your destination. Another option depending on your phone plan is to turn on cellular data.
6. Look For a Public Transit Area
Public transit areas will have maps, directions, and people that can help you. If you feel comfortable, you can always take public transportation to your destination. If it is a train station, the clerk will have a wealth of information to help you. I have used their assistance on many occasions.
7. Stay Lost
There is beauty in being lost. You meet the most amazing people and discover the most amazing things. One of my favorite things to do is to get lost in a city.
-Write down the name of your hotel and important addresses and phone numbers in your native language and the official language of the country you are in.
-Write down, step by step directions when necessary.
-Learn common words so that you can ask for help.
-Carry a portable charger so that you can charge your device if it dies.
-Keep an electronic copy of important details on your device.
-Memorize important street names (Hotels, streets, etc.).
Hopefully, after reading this article, it will help prevent getting lost, but if you are lost, you now have tips for finding your way out.