How to Navigate Your Way around a New City!

May 15, 2017 jakep1995
Finding your way around a foreign city can sometimes be a challenge. Having no internet connection and language barriers can make it even more difficult, trying to find landmarks and cafes, use local buses, or even know which buses to take, to get you where you want to go can be hard. Here’s my advice on the best ways to navigate a foreign city while travelling. 

Take Screenshots- I use this method all of the time. If i know where i am going and what i am doing for the day, i will take screenshots on google maps of the directions and how to get to places. Take screenshots of the buses you need to take and which stops to get of at. This way when you are out exploring and have no Wifi, the screenshots of the maps and how to find your way will be on your phone, in your photos. Make sure you zoom in enough that you can see the street names, this will come in really helpful. 

Ask Locals- One of the best ways of finding your way around a new city, and is super helpful if you get lost, is just by asking locals, and people that live there, like shop and cafe owners, where things are, and how to get to places. The majority of people you ask will be really friendly and try and help you. This may be difficult if there is  language barrier, but you can always just show them on a map, or show them the address. 

Use Google Offline Maps- This is an amazing app, that i also recently started using. This version of google maps allows you to download certain places and sections of maps for cities, then you can use and access the map offline. The only problem with this is you do have quite a small area that you can save, so if the city is big or you are exploring a large part of the area, you will have to do a lot of downloading, and this may be difficult with shitty hostel Wifi. But 100% check it out, it’s really useful.

Here’s a link on how to use Google offline maps.  

Keep Addresses Noted Down- Always have the address of your hostel noted down, in your phone and on paper, this may be helpful in case your phone dies. Then if you do get lost and can’t find your way back to the hostel, at least you can show someone the address and they can help direct you back. Or worst case scenario, you can show the address to a taxi driver and they will be able to take you back. Also have the address of the places you want to visit noted down, then if you can’t find them, you can show someone the address, this is really helpful if there is a language barrier. 

Grab a Map- There are loads of free maps for most cities you will be visiting. They usually have a load on the hostel or hotel reception desk, so be sure to grab one. They often show the coolest places to visit and how to get to them. They also may be a life saver if your phone ends up running out of battery, or if it’s stolen or lost. There usually always small and not heavy so it’s worth having in your backpack. 

And finally just don’t stress out, if you can’t find your way or keep getting lost, don’t worry about it, and don’t let it stress you out. It’s all part of the adventure and all part of travelling. As mentioned before, worst case scenario, if you have the address of your hotel/hostel written down, and you’re lost or can’t find your way, just show it to someone or a cab driver and you’ll get back. Try to enjoy being lost, it’ll make a great story when you get back home 😉