Simple Ways to Avoid Getting Lost in a Foreign Country
It may sound silly, but there are many people who are still afraid of traveling because they dread getting lost in an unfamiliar location. This fear is usually reinforced by a language barrier which often prevents travelers from understanding locals and obtaining necessary information. The very thought of roaming the streets of a new city in search of a certain location may terrify potential tourists and make them give up the idea of exploring our beautiful planet. Frankly speaking, I also refrained from traveling to Asia for a long time for fear of getting lost in a foreign country.
Luckily for me, I met a bunch of like-minded people from my college who convinced me to take a trip to the most beautiful places in the world. We completed all our projects just finding essays for sale, contacted the professional essay writing service – Edusson.com to get help with some urgent essays, packed our bags, and embarked on a fascinating journey that presented us with lots of fresh impressions. During the trip, we figured out some simple ways to avoid getting lost when traveling. If you’re planning on visiting a foreign country, the following tips will come in handy.
Table of Contents
1. Use a Multi-Language Map
Our first destination was Thailand. We flew to Bangkok and decided to stop at the hotel which was closest to the airport. The next day, we took a sightseeing tour of the new city, and I got lost – just like that. I stopped by a shop window and lingered there for about 15 minutes, eyeing a conspicuous figurine of a local goddess. My friends decided to take a photo of a temple which was on the opposite side of the road.
Somehow I lost sight of them and decided to go back to the hotel. I knew only several miles separated me from it, but felt too disoriented and insecure in the unfamiliar Asian city. I was upset and reluctant to approach strangers and ask for directions. So, the easiest way for me was to take a taxi (which was quite expensive) and go to the hotel. I spent the whole day waiting for my friends, who turned out to have wasted the entire day too, searching for me. Still, unlike me, they navigated the city easily and managed to get to their destinations without a hitch.
The secret of their success was a multi-language map we had bought at the airport. I couldn’t believe I failed to grab a map, that indispensable tool for every traveler. My friends used it to get to a local museum and a mall, the places we intended to visit. Every time they experienced difficulty finding a specific location, they showed the map to a cabbiey or a local. Though the first impression of the new city was clouded by my failure to orient myself in the new surroundings, I got valuable experience, which I hope will also help you.
2. Get Photos of Attractions You Want to Visit
When we were in Cambodia, we decided to visit the notorious Killing Fields, the places where millions of innocent people were massacred and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime. Still, when it came to getting to those places, we realized it wasn’t as easy as we thought. None of the locals we asked for directions could help us, perhaps because we were mispronouncing the names of the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Even getting to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat became a problem. Fortunately, one of our tourists downloaded a photo of Angkor Wat on his phone and showed it to a local cabbie. The man recognized the temple and headed us in the right direction. It turned out we were only ten minutes away from the destination.
You should keep in mind that spellings and pronunciations may vary in local languages. Therefore, the surest way to ask for directions is to show a photo of your destination. Just print a picture of your attraction or save it on your device in advance. If it’s a major landmark, locals will recognize it and point the way to it.
3. Learn Local Greetings and Polite Words
Traveling is not only about sightseeing and having fun. When traveling, we come into contact with new people, learn about different cultures, customs, and traditions. Traveling is also an excellent way of mastering a new language. Most of us dread being lost in a foreign country since we don’t know how to ask for help in a foreign language. Of course, you don’t need to learn a new language to ask for directions. But knowing how to say “hello,” “thanks,” and “please” can definitely benefit you. Nelson Mandela once noted that if you talk to a man in his language, “that goes to his heart.”
The truth is locals will be more willing to speak your language (or the language of international communication such as English) if they see you take an interest in their language. Starting a conversation with “Sawasdee” in Thailand, “Namaste” in India, or “Bonjour” in France is suggestive of your politeness, openness, and humility. Such small gestures are appreciated by locals, who will definitely lend you a helping hand and show you the right direction.
4. Just Ask
As I have noted, when I first found myself lost in a new country, I was unwilling to ask strangers for help, especially strangers who allegedly couldn’t understand me. I must confess that it wasn’t my fear per se that prevented me from asking for directions. It was my stubbornness and bashfulness that kept me from establishing contacts in the new world. Fortunately, I have realized that the main purpose of traveling was coming into contact with everything that seemed distant and unfamiliar. I started communicating with locals in Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and every other country we visited. I learned new words and practices newly acquired language skills when communicating with the new acquaintances. Now I know that more often than not, locals are willing to help foreigners in a predicament. All you need to do is to ask for help first.
Through travel, we explore the outer world, learn new things, make new friends, and expand our knowledge. There is no need to give up a chance to see this wonderful world simply because you don’t have a good sense of direction. Avail yourself of our useful tips on navigating a new city, and you’ll never get lost.