Most of the travelers I meet on a daily basis are hesitant when it comes to traveling International. They are clouded by questions such as ‘How will I get directions?’, ‘Who will help me out?, ‘How will I communicate with others?’, and several such questions, that keep them bothered from making that move, at least alone. The discomfort and insecurity of ‘getting lost in the unknown’ is clearly visible on their faces.
But, it is only about observation and awareness and the more you travel, the better your instincts become. Most of the solutions generally surround you and if you develop the skill of spotting them, it will keep you going. Here are 5 ways you can safely travel international like a pro on your next overseas trip.
Use the Airport Maps to get an overview
This is the easiest way to understand the city you are traveling in. The Airports are full of vital information that can tell you inside out about a city. When you get down at the Airport, you should get hold of these maps instantly:-
- City Tour Map – Gives you information of all the must-see places in the city of visit
- Metro Map – Gives you a fair idea of the metro service in the city.
- Taxi and City Bus Route Map – Gives you a fair idea of the important bus routes along the city.
Some maps have both the tourist and metro map on the same page. If you can get hold of that, it is even better. You should also aim for buying one of the rail or bus passes which are available in most of the countries, at the airport itself.
For eg: At Singapore International Airport, you can directly head for the MRT from one of the exits and buy the MRT passes from the Airport terminal.
Public transportation is for you – Use It to the best
Once you get hold of the city maps, it is time to use them to the best of your advantage. Any public transportation system has two main purposes – to serve the local public for transportation and the second (lesser known), to connect the tourist places within the city.
When you closely see the maps, you will realize that most of the tourist places in any country are designed to meet these two essentials. Half of your travel needs are already met if you can orient yourself with these maps. As far as possible, try to find your accommodation closer to these transportation networks as it gives you an easy connectivity wherever you go.
The Public Transport Network is the easiest way to stay focused when traveling, as it keeps you get back to the course quickly. Follow the direction signs carefully
Orient with the Tourist Landmarks
You may not know of the entire city but you are there to see the important landmarks at least. It is a good idea to create a self-map of the landmarks and try to place yourself close to one of them. Try looking for your accommodation near the landmarks or the public transport network. Either ways, they serve the most important purpose – Transportation! It is easier to find the means of transport near the city landmarks and they are also easier to remember.
In case you deviate from the usual course, or are not able to find your way ahead, always head back for the nearest landmark. This especially works when you are moving in the evenings and the chances of losing the way are more.
Bottom line, landmarks are places where you fall back to, when you are lost. They are easier to spell out, whether you know the language or not, and are known to majority of the public transports available such as taxis and auto rickshaws. Also, since the rail and metro networks are close by, you are back on track in no time.
Get all important Contacts at one place
Should you bother to lose directions (though sometimes they say – Not all those who wander are lost!!), you can always save the trouble by keeping some contact nos in hand. Here is a list of those that can help you out:-
- Airport Assistance: This is where you came in from and this is where you leave the country; when in doubt, head for the start point.
- The Immigration Office: The only place where you can easily find people who can speak your language. When you cannot explain things to anyone else, this is where you should head to!
- The Hotel Help Desk: The hotel help desk can only help you up to the places their staff know. However, they can at least tell you which tourist places have good connectivity.
Look for the nearest metro or the nearest tourist landmark when you feel you are lost. Head for it straight. You will find the rest of the directions and maps at such places.