Getting lost in a foreign country is just a scary thing that can happen to anyone, most especially when the place you’re going to isn’t an English-speaking country.
So imagine stealing a last minute flight deal but your destination is somewhere you’ve never been to before and you weren’t able to prepare a translator app or a map before you go. For most travelers, not knowing where you are can be a major bummer, particularly when trying to get somewhere by a certain time or when you have concerns about your personal safety.
These days with our cell phones and mobile devices are our savior when things like this happen. How? Connecting to the internet will help you access GPS, search for, book taxi services to pick you up, connect you to local police station, and so much more.
Best of all, this will connect you with your friends and family so you can be in constant contact with them and update them about what’s happening to you so they don’t have to worry about you being lost or stranded in an unfamiliar place alone.
But don’t worry that you’re unfortunate for getting lost in your overseas trip. Like I said, for as long as you have your phone with you, you will be safe. And even the savviest traveler can get lost too so it’s not just you.
So if you don’t want it to happen to you, here’s what you should do:
1. Prepare Before You Go
Pre-trip packing and planning to avoid unfortunate events are the crucial first steps to avoid getting lost and are key to ensuring you stay safe whenever you do veer off course. If it’s an impromptu trip like I mentioned earlier, there’s still time to pack quick and prepare before your trip. Here’s how:
Essential items to carry: Your phone is probably your best tool for getting “un-lost.” But to keep out of trouble when you’re someone with no mobile reception or when your battery is running low, always carry these essential items with you: a local map, phrasebook, universal power adapter, and fully charged powerbank. Keep enough cash in the local currency on you for a cab or bus ride as well.
Learn a little of the local lingo: It’s rather obvious, but actually learning a few key words and phrases in the local language (even before you start looking for deals on last minute flights) could be a lifesaver.
Furthermore, it’s also wise to know where and how to get in touch with the nearest consulate or embassy for your nationality and to be aware of the location of nearby police stations. It there’s so little time, you can just download a translator app before your flight so when you arrive, you won’t need to trouble yourself, finding an internet connection to Google some phrases.
Carry the business card of your hotel or a business near you: If you’re staying at a hotel, always take a few of its business cards with you when you go out — and double check that the cards have the name, address, and phone number of the hotel. These may prove especially useful if you can’t speak the local language or you’re somewhere with a different alphabet than you’re able to read. If you’re not staying in a hotel, grab a card (or maybe a takeout menu) from a local restaurant or some other business near your accommodation.
Research a transport service company: Knowing one taxi service company in the place you’ll be visiting will save basically save you from getting lost. All you need to do is to open your GPs and call the taxi service company to let them know of your location. Here in Inverness Scotland, one of the most reliable you’ll get is Inverness Taxis. You can either save the number or download the app so anywhere you may be, it will be easy and quick for you to order a taxi service.
Have copies of your passport somewhere safe: It’s a good idea to have a few photocopies of the photo page of your passport as well as any pages with visas or other relevant information. Keep a copy somewhere safe back home and a copy or two with you on your trip — just not in the same place as your passport. Having a digital backup on your phone or other device is also a good idea, along with emailing the backup to a close family member, friend, or colleague.
Carry an emergency kit and wear the right gear: If you’re planning a road trip or trek through a largely unpopulated area, or heading somewhere remote or where weather conditions can be variable and extreme, taking the appropriate emergency precautions might mean the difference between an inconvenient hitch in your itinerary and a life-threatening situation. Always dress appropriately for potential weather and in layers. Be sure to pack enough food and water and an emergency travel kit with the right gear for any potential circumstance that might arise.
Don’t Panic: Assuming your phone has plenty of juice, checking a location app for your bearings or seeing if any of your downloaded ride-hailing apps work where you are could solve your problem instantly. But if such simple solutions don’t do the trick, there’s still plenty to attempt before you should start to worry.
Look for a place to stop and get help: Odds are, in any urban area you’re probably just a short walk away from a taxi rank, bus stop, or train station. Finding these can help you start your journey back to where you want to be. You’re probably near an internet café or a major chain restaurant with free WiFi, or some other sort of public setting where you can contact someone for assistance or just get off the street for a while.
Talk to the right person: If you do need to talk to a stranger for any sort of help, a police officer should be your top choice. Second would be another “official” public worker. Taxi drivers often can be very helpful too with good knowledge of the area and the ability to speak at least a little English or multiple other language. Shop owners or managers of businesses or families with small children are usually the safest strangers to reach out to after that.
Be Discreet: Practice caution and play it cool: If you feel like you’re in a sketchy place, stay aware of your belongings and try to keep any valuables out of view. This includes expensive watches, flashy jewelry, and designer handbags. You might want to be low key using your smartphone too. Don’t speak too loudly about being lost. Don’t ever take your wallet or credit cards out or count money on the street.
Walk purposefully even if you don’t know where you’re going.
Following these simple tips can help make sure that you quickly get back on track to enjoying your vacation, even if it’s in a destination you just hopped last minute flights to visit. And don’t forget, Scotts are warm. Get lost, and there will be a lot of people to help you. Know your technology and we at Inverness Taxis can reach you.