Some people say that getting lost while in a new country is the best part of travelling, allowing you to fully experience the culture in its element without the tourist distractions. However, this isn’t always the case when you actually get lost. You might be in a country where cabs are not as frequent as they might be in London or in a place where nobody speaks an ounce of English. It’s a truly terrifying experience. You are in an unfamiliar location with a different culture to your own. So how do you get back to your hotel safely? Here’s some tips on how to stay savvy while lost overseas.
Research the locations you would like to visit before you go
Most of the time, being prepared is key to reducing the stress of getting from location A to B. Before you leave, map out what destinations you’d like to visit and figure out how you are going to get there. It may be the case of finding the nearest train station or booking in with a tourist bus to ensure you arrive on time. When you arrive in the country, keep a map either on your smartphone or in your backpack, for those times when you need a little guidance.
Keep emergency numbers and addresses on you at all times
Countries like the USA and Australia will allow you to register with a consulate online ahead of travel. That way, if a natural disaster or military conflict occurs, the embassy will know that you are in the country and will be able to assist you if necessary. Make sure to keep their number and local address on your phone or mini address and keep it on you in a safe place at all times. If you are worried about how much international roaming will be if you have to make emergency calls, then you should consider investing in an international SIM card. These nifty little cards allow you to make calls within the country you are travelling to and to 160 other countries at a heavily discounted rate. Check out http://www.travelsim.net.au/ to view your options.
When you realise that you are lost in a foreign country, your first reaction is to panic. Acting scared, is a dead giveaway to thieves and criminals that you are unaware of your surroundings. This makes you an ideal attack target because you are disorientated and agreeable to any help that someone may present. Try to gather your thoughts, relax and avoid drawing attention to yourself.
Ask someone who you think can help
As much as we would like everyone we encounter to be helpful and understanding, most of the time, people are in too much of their own world to care. Generally, you want to steer clear of suspicious groups who would revel in the opportunity to assist a helpless tourist. So who exactly do you ask? At the risk of sounding sexist, a woman or elderly person (especially if you are a woman yourself) is your best bet. If there are local shops in the area, don’t be afraid to go in and ask the shopkeeper to help you.
Have you ever been lost in an unfamiliar country? How did you deal?