Finding yourself lost may be one of the biggest fears that you will encounter while traveling, and in some point, sooner or later… it will happen. But don’t worry, even the best ones go through it. With a bit of common sense and geographical orientation, you will get to your destination at no time.
Here are some of my tips I’d like to share
“Always take a map with you”
Hostels and hotels always have free maps. Please ask in the reception to give you one and tell them to circle where is the hotel/hostel and the most important spots in the city. The spots help because they will be the most important references in case you need to ask so you know where you exactly are.
Tip: always take a contact card of the hotel/hostel where you’re staying at, in case you need to call for help.
“Use technology for your advantage”
Lots of people say “I don’t want to take along my cellphone cause it can get stolen”. Well what if I told you that you call more the atenttion carrying a big map rather than carrying a smartphone in your hand. Nowadays lots of people have smartphones, even the most humble ones. So don’t fear in using one for traveling, it can be your life savior.
Here are the two most common apps I use when I’m traveling:
Google maps or Waze
These apps can really save your life when we talk about getting lost. You can see exactly where you are and type in the browser where to go. In that way you have a complete route of how to reach to your destination. As a matter of fact you can see what’s around in case you want to shop, eat, or even locate hospitals or drugstores for any emergency. Both are available for androids or apple
Tip: take several screen shots of the route just in case your apps have problems in updating while you are walking or moving towards to your destination. In that way you have them safe in your smart phone’s photo gallery.
May be getting a local phone chip sounds easier and cheaper, but finding a store to buy one is not that easy. Not forgetting that you have to be sure that your cellphone is unblocked to use it for other carriers. That’s why I decided to make my life easier and download skype (link). The key of this is always having Skype credit available and being near a good wifispot. You would be amazed how cheap are the minute/rate when calling to another country. Once in Lynz, Austria, when I knew I wouldn’t be on time to meet up with my friend, I looked for a wifi spot and called to her cellphone with no problem.
Tip: Are you a coffee lover? Starbucks has free wifi around the globe. So why not enjoying your Machiato while skyping with a friend and looking around for cool places with google maps.
“Ask for help”
I always use this as a last resource. Depending in what country you are, Some people may be friendly and helpful, while others don’t really mind helping at all (reason why most of the times I would use it as a last resource). But don’t worry, there’s always someone willing to help a lost tourist. When asking for help try to be precise and use simple phrases. Also try to be patient if the person that helps you doesn’t speak English very well.
Tip: Although many people around the world speak english, it doesn’t mean that you have to assume that everyone speaks it. In some countries, locals do not like when tourists assume this.
Suggestion? Give greetings in their language,,, and most important, ask if they speak English (if possible in their language). In that way they will see your willingness and effort to blend in the culture. In Germany my favorite survival phrases were: Hallo! (Hello) Sprechen sie English? (Do you speak English) Kanst du mir helpfen bitte? (Can you help me please?)
“Keep Calm and Move on”
Some people panic, some get anxious, others even laugh. It’s totally normal for most travelers to experience it, but if you don’t keep calm, you won’t be able to concentrate in order to solve. So most important, follow these simple steps:
-catch a deep breath and exhale softly
– Always be positive.
Traveling is fun and thrilling, but don’t forget getting lost is part of the fun as well. Don’t look at it as a bad thing, the contrary… it will make you an experimented traveller and a better problem solver. So whenever you feel adding some spice to your adventure, just follow Couple Travel Diary’s travel tips and feel free to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a safe trip!