There are all kinds of ways you could get lost while travelling. You fall asleep on the train and miss a bunch of stops and when you wake up, the train is no longer in service. Your phone dies and Google or Apple Maps is no longer an option. Maybe you’ve lost your phone completely — and there goes your only map.
Things happen, but you don’t have to feel scared or anxious — there’s a lot that can be done if you get lost.
Plan, don’t panic
Expect things to go wrong on every trip; that way you will know what to do if it does. Keep an extra charger or battery for your devices; map out how to get to and from your accommodations without your phone; have extra cash in case you have to jump in a cab; know what your stops are on the train; and always keep emergency contacts on hand.
Keep your phone with you
Sometimes you might think that it’s pointless to have your phone if you don’t have service in a particular area, or your battery may have died and you want to leave it to charge. But if you have a choice, you should never go anywhere without your phone.
Someone will always have a charger that fits your phone whether it’s a hotel or coffee shop. Even if you don’t have service, you can connect to anywhere with wifi. And accessing wifi can help you pull up a translator to communicate that you are lost and where you’re trying to go. Phone are invaluable. Keep your phone with you.
Carry a card for your hotel/accommodations
Every hotel will have their information, including the name and address, written in the native language if you’re in a non-English speaking country. If you’re lost, you can always show someone the address to see if they can help you get back to where you need to be. That can help you anywhere in the world.
In China, I took an Uber to the wrong hotel and my phone was dying. I showed the front desk of the wrong hotel the card of the hotel I was supposed to have been going to (my Mandarin is limited to “hello’, “goodbye,” and “thank you”). It was easy to see that I was in the wrong place, so they not only showed me where my hotel was via a map, but called an Uber for me while my phone charged at their desk.
Learn the lingo
It’s always good to know how to ask for help in any language.
- “I need the police.”
- “I am lost.”
- “Do you speak English? Because I need help.”
People who speak a different language will be more than ready to help if they can understand what you need — even at the most basic level. You can also write down a few phrases in the native language as well as English; carry them with you and point to the phrases you need so people can have a general idea of how they can be of assistance.
Everywhere I’ve gone in the world, I have watched people so invested in their phone screens or not fully paying attention that they’ve missed their train stops or walked in a totally different direction that they were not supposed to go.
Being aware of your surroundings and paying attention to landmarks, street names, or how you got to a place can help you get back to where you need to be.