While part of any good travel experience should be immersing yourself in a new place, it’s always a good idea to have a few tricks on hand to help you find your way back to reality. Here are some of our favourites.
Don’t be a stranger
Your mother may have taught you never to talk to strangers, but when you’re lost in a strange city, it’s safe to say that rule goes out the window.
The key to getting good directions from strangers is simply to ask for help. While that sounds easy, research by a UK car insurance company in 2010 found that men in particular struggle to ask for directions, with 26% waiting at least half an hour after getting lost to ask for directions. That’s half an hour you could spend drinking sangria in Spain, playing with local kids in Budapest or swimming with plankton in Cambodia. Passersby will be more than happy to help you out with your navigation, and if you don’t speak the local language you could always get involved in a bit of charades.
You might also like to check out the Google Translate app if you’d prefer a little extra help on the language translation front – even use it to instantly translate street signs and local maps.
Follow the crowd
If you’re not lost to the point of desperation and want to challenge yourself to find your destination without the help of anyone or anything else, trying following groups of people.
Large crowds travelling in the same direction will often be heading toward public transport centres, major shopping and dining areas or other noteworthy parts of the city. This is particularly true around rush-hour each day. If you’re lost around the time people are heading to or returning from work, go with the flow and see where the locals take you. Hopefully, you don’t wind up in their office.
Equip your phone for travel
Ask any traveller who’s found themselves lost in a foreign city – mapping apps in your smartphone can be an absolute lifesaver. Check out the new TravelSIM app which has offline mapping that helps you to find your way around any city.
Other travel-friendly apps include Citymapper, which helps you link up with the best public transport routes in your area, and AroundMe, which not only tells you where you are, but points you in the direction of the nearest restaurants, cash machines, parks and everything else you could possibly want to find.
Next time you’re travelling let yourself get lost in your surroundings knowing these handy hints will help you find your way back home.