3 Tips to not be a Typical Lost Tourist
Getting lost in a new city is not fun. It’s frustrating, embarrassing, and can pinpoint you out as a potential crime target. That happened to me once while I was looking for ticket machines around a Paris subway station. A man helped me find a ticket machine, only to cheat me by slipping in a one-time ticket in the area where a 3-day ticket should have been. I felt violated and uneasy for the rest of my trip knowing that I was tricked and cheated of a lot of money that I could’ve used for a delicious Parisian meal. To prevent these types of situations from happening again, I use these 3 tips to not look like a typical lost tourist.
Use Train Apps
Train systems can be so tricky to navigate, especially in big cities that require many transfers. I start my day out by planning what trains I need to take before leaving the hotel. Using a smart phone app for train systems makes it a lot easier for me to find which connections are quickest to take. I use the MetrO app, which has the rail systems for over 400 cities around the world. And when I need to know when a train leaves and how long it will take, I use Google Maps train directions option.
Go on Walking Tours
On my first day in a new city, I try my best to go on a free walking tour to associate myself with the city layout and main attractions. Walking tours usually meet at central locations, take around two hours and cover a good amount of ground in that time. It isn’t enough time to see many of the attractions in depth, so that gives me a good reason to go back on another day and see the parts I didn’t get to see before.
Ask Police Officers
Here’s a fun statistic to know: Japanese policemen mainly deal with lost tourists as their top task. Japan is generally a safe area to travel around and the policemen are required to be knowledgeable on finding their way around their city. But in other countries, asking the police for help is a sound idea. Police boxes are easy to find to the lost traveler’s eye, and the officers have a strong sense of the city surroundings and directions. It might seem daunting at first, but it’s better to go into a police office to find directions than sit outside trying to find a random stranger to help you. Tourist offices are also a friendly option for help.