Stepping into a new city can be overwhelming, and there’s nothing like barely arriving at an airport to realize you have no idea where to go next. To help prepare a good navigation plan ahead of time, here are a few tips and tricks to help you figure out how to get around a new city.
Before you leave, look at Google Maps and find out where your airport is in relation to your accommodation. From there, you can know whether you can take public transport to get to where you’re staying, if you’ll need to rent a car, or (if it’s a hotel) if you can get a free shuttle service to take you to and from the airport.
Also, if you have an itinerary for your trip or you know the activities you want to do, then you can plan out your route(s). The great thing about Google Maps is that it has a feature where you can select routes for utilising public transport, for walking, or for driving. It will also give you estimated times of arrival when you specify what time you’re leaving.
Use a Map App
As mentioned above, one popular mapping app is Google Maps, from which you can download maps of cities on your phone. From there you can use them to get directions to whatever location you’re exploring. Downloading might be wiser than using your data, especially if travelling outside of your data roaming area because the data fees can be exorbitant.
Consider finding a place that has free WiFi (probably wherever you’re staying or a local cafe), and then download the maps. You can then navigate the city offline. The app also allows you to pinpoint spots you want to see, keeping your destinations organised once you arrive. Oh, and the best thing – it’s free to use!
If you’re moving to a new city, or if you’re staying there for a length of time, it might be best to ditch the map, get lost and roam for a while. It’s good to wander and discover different parts of the city. By strolling around a new city, you can also find loads of great places and things that you never would have if you had simply stuck to your itinerary and map.
If you’re travelling to a city that doesn’t speak your language, brush up on some helpful phrases or at least the basics. Also, meeting locals is half the fun in engaging with a city’s culture, plus they always know the best things to see and do and of course places to eat. If you’re shy, holding a map while looking particularly confused is also a way of getting people to help, although looking like a tourist also has its downsides!
The most important part of navigating a new city is to remember that new places are opportunities to experience new cultures and ways of living. Knowing what public transport is offered and where the nearest stations are is a good thing, but what’s truly at the heart of travelling is appreciating other cities for all the life and wonderful things they have to offer.