World Travel 101: Part 6 – Finding Your Way Around

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A big fear many new travelers have is getting lost in a foreign country, especially if you don’t speak the language.  But in most places, the tourism industry wants you to visit and they work hard to make sure you can find your way around!  So it’s not as challenging as you may think!

World Travel 101: Part 6 Finding Your Way Around

Navigating Unfamiliar Places With Signs in Foreign Languages Doesn’t Have to Be as Challenging as It Seems

I’ll show you some tricks that will make it easier to get around.

World Travel 101 – Index

3 Ways to Prepare for Your Trip

If you have time, a little preparation can make it easier to find your way once you’re on the ground.

World Travel 101: Part 6 Finding Your Way Around

Doing Your Homework Will Keep You Ahead of the Game

Here are some ways you can plan ahead:

  • Familiarize Yourself With a Map of Your Destination – Guide books offer fantastic walking tours.  I’ve used Rick Steves’ books.  He usually includes metro stops with all major destinations so it’s easy to find your way.  But browse Amazon or your local bookstore to find 1 that works for you!
  • Study Public Transportation Maps – Find these with a quick search on Google or in guide books.

Know Your Transportation Options

Renting a bike might be your best option in places with a lot of traffic.  While in many European cities public transportation is the cheapest and most efficient way to get around.

And sometimes the mode of transportation is part of the local experience such as the bicycles or trolley in Amsterdam and Tram 28 in Lisbon.

Guide books will often give you tips on the best ways to get around, but here’s a look at some common options:

1.   Taxi

Taking a standard taxi or using a new service like Uber or BlaBlaCar can make traveling around a new city easy.

World Travel 101: Part 6 Finding Your Way Around

Let Someone Else Do the Navigating, While You Relax and Take in the Sights!

But some drivers take advantage of tourists.  To avoid getting ripped off, make sure you use a reputable company.  You can ask for a name at the hotel or do a quick search online.

You can also use Taxi Finder to get an estimate of your fare and ensure you aren’t overcharged!

2.   Rental Car

Some people enjoy the freedom of a rental car.  It’s a terrific way to explore places off the beaten path.  Check out my rental car series for tips on how to save money.

World Travel 101: Part 6 Finding Your Way Around

Rental Cars Typically Aren’t a Good Option in Big Cities, Because Many Hotels Can Charge ~$25 per Day for Parking and You’ll Also Have to Pay for Parking Around Town

Note:  Find out which cards offer primary car insurance and make sure you’re properly covered before you rent a car!

3.   Public Transportation

Public transportation can also bring you door to door, depending on your destination.  Plus, it’s often very affordable.

If you’re staying for an extended period, check for discounts on weekly and monthly passes to save money!

It’s a good idea to know when service ends each day.  Otherwise, you could end up stuck somewhere without a ride back to the hotel!

Finding Your Way

If you’re exploring your new location on foot or with a rental car you’ll have to figure out how to get around on your own.

World Travel 101: Part 6 Finding Your Way Around

Lost? These Tools & Tips Can Help Keep You on the Right Track

Tips and tools that can help you out include:

  • Cell Phone GPS – Activate your wireless international plan to get full use of GPS on their phone.  A cheaper option may be to purchase a SIM card when you reach your destination.
  • Google TranslateThis app can translate signs for you and also help you ask for directions from someone who doesn’t speak English

Bottom Line

Getting around in a a foreign land can seem complicated.  However, many tourist spots actually do their best to make it easier!

Planning ahead can also go a long way!  You’ll feel more at ease once you get familiar with the available popular transportation options, as well as maps of the roads.

Also, guide books and travel apps can be a lifesaver to help you navigate a unfamiliar city.

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3 responses to “World Travel 101: Part 6 – Finding Your Way Around

  1. I’m a big fan of the Here app when I’m traveling abroad. It works a lot like Google Maps except it allows you to download enhanced areas of maps to use when offline. With the maps you can still do turn-by-turn navigation (or public transit!) or even look up points of interest! It’s usually a really large file so it works best on a device with large or expandable storage.

  2. Even if you don’t have an international data plan, you can still use the GPS on your phone. Just open up the maps app and the blue dot will appear. It won’t give you turn by turn directions, but at least you’ll know where you are. However, the old “OK maps” trick no longer works unless you are signed into Google and have saved the map to your account.

  3. Forget about buying a sim. Just get be on road free app it will use the gps free feature of a smart phone with offline maps downloaded in the country you are going to visit.