Every trip you go on is full of challenge, uncertainty, and adventure! Your travels will take you to other, probably completely unknown locations. You don’t always know what to do first. You can’t quite place where you’re at or where the nearest supermarket is – even if you just want to buy a bottle of water! A new place sometimes means coping with real stress, because it’s difficult to predict what’s happening around you and you can easily get disoriented from time to time.
But there are some great tricks and useful apps that may very well help you to quickly cope when you’re in a new place. I’m going to share them with you in this list, so that you don’t have to wander around anymore!
[Headline main = “Feel like a local”]
10 tips on how master adjusting yourself when you’re in a new place!
1. Equip yourself with cash
The first thing you should do to take that feeling of insecurity away is get some cash in the local currency. With cash in hand you can easily catch a cab ride, get a local SIM card, or simply enjoy a good coffee after a long flight!
At most airports you can get money in the local currency right when you arrive. Get the best credit card for your travels that will allow you to save on any unnecessary exchange costs. In addition, you should also consider taking out a bit of extra money to put aside. If you happen to run into a situation where you’re credit card doesn’t work, or there’s no ATM nearby, you’ll still be covered.
Depending on the country, 100 euros is usually a good amount. In Asia, South America, and South Africa especially, you don’t always need a ton of cash. So always carry a small amount of cash on you, and keep the rest of the money somewhere safe like your backpack.
2. Take a note of the most important addresses
The address of your accommodation is super important! You should never rely on the assumption that you’ll have free Wifi at a café, or that every taxi driver you get a ride from automatically knows where your accommodation is. The best thing to do is to write down the address, take a picture of the street it’s on, and grab a business card from the place you’re staying.
One of the most important times to have this written down properly is in places where the characters of a language are completely different, and few people speak English. You should always get your address written down in the respective language of the country you’re in, so that you can show it to locals. In China, for example, you can often only show the taxi drivers your address in Chinese.
The address of a local tourist office can also help you in emergencies. The staff at these places often have a solution for virtually every problem, and can sometimes make a call for you if you need it.
3. Orient yourself with Google Maps
Google Maps is a really good app, and you should definitely download it before going on your next adventure. An especially useful aspect of the app is that it even works without an internet connection once you’ve downloaded it. Thanks to GPS you can always see where you currently are, and can even use the app for navigating through unfamiliar places. Whether you’re looking for a cool restaurant, the beach, or a route to the next village, Google Maps can show you the way.
Another advantage to Google Maps is that the maps are really up to date. With other maps, they might be old and outdated. The street names might be obsolete, so you get completely confused. This won’t happen with Google Maps! The other great thing is you can download the maps in your own language. So if you’re in China or Japan, you can still have the map displayed in German!
Additionally, you can mark places on the map. You can place markers on your accommodation, and even include restaurants and cafés you want to check out. Then you can go save them, and be right there on your map. You’ll be able to see all the important places you need directly on your map, and never have to take forever searching for addresses again!
4. Get tips from locals
Locals can give you the best information and tips about cafés, restaurants, and cool places. They really know their surroundings the best and often are happy to tell you all their little secrets so you can have a great time in their city!
One of the best things to do is find a café near you, sit down with a good coffee in a corner, and ask the waiter if they have any tips for you as a newcomer. By the time you’re done you might just be spontaneously invited to a birthday party or going out through the city to enjoy the nightlife!
In your accommodation, you can also ask for tips and referrals. In smaller hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, and even AirBnB Apartments the owner and staff are usually very open and happy to answer any of your questions.
Thanks to the advice of locals you’ll quickly get a feel for the new place and get to know it authentically. So go out, stay open to people, and be prepared to learn the best tips and secrets!
5. Plan a route by researching travel blogs
If you want to get to know a little bit about your destination before you head out, do some research on various travel blogs like Off The Path! If you want to find some great adventures, or know of highlights that have made other traveler’s trips amazing, doing research on blogs beforehand is a great way to go.
Lots of travel blogs show you the coolest little secret corners of a place, and won’t just spit out the “top 5 (or 8 or 10) places to go like many travel guides do. Blogs of locals in the place you’re going to visit usually offer really great insider tips too! If you’re interested in other areas in and around the place you’re going to visit, it’s never a bad idea to take a look at fashion and food bloggers who also have awesome recommendations!
Once you’ve found a bunch of places that interest you, make a list. Note down the addresses shown on your map and find a way to connect them in your itinerary, so that they suit you best. That way you’ll be able to get a feel for how your journey will go, and which places are where in the city or town you’re visiting.
Often you can also find blogs that give you a good idea of how the transportation works in the country you’re going to visit. Inform yourself as much as possible, so when you get there you won’t have a million surprises and you’ll feel instantly at home!
If you’re not one to plan too much then you can simply arrive at your destination and ask some locals (remember tip number 4!). You’ll discover many unknown places – some that no bloggers have even encountered yet!
6. Take a city or food tour
If you prefer having someone guide you, a city tour or food tour is a perfect way to get a feel for a new city. These are available in almost all medium and large cities. The cool thing, too, is that lots of city tours are offered for free and you only pay a tip (or what you can afford) at the end. If you’re traveling on a budget, this is a great opportunity to have a local show you around town!
In many cities there are special tours offered that take you to the most familiar places and coolest street food stalls. Food tours are super popular in Asia especially and there’s often a ton of great food to try!
In many of these tours your guide will take you to areas and neighborhoods you may have never discovered on your own! You’ll probably go into restaurants or visit street stalls that you could never have found without a recommendation or a guide.
No matter what tour you decide to go on, you’ll really get a feel for the city, for the people, and their way of life. As a bonus you’ll often meet nice new people in the same position as you who are new in the city and just getting a look around!
7. Eat with locals using foursquare
Foursquare is another app you should use on your travels. While you can find restaurants full of tourists on TripAdvisor, Foursquare can show you dozens of restaurants that are much more likely to be frequented by locals. It also shows you reliable reviews that can tell you how good and popular a place is.
You can set the search by distance or by the type of cuisine you happen to like. The app often gives you pictures, comments, directions, and operating hours. Sometimes even the entire menu is photographed, and can help make your decision even easier. With Foursquare you can’t possibly go wrong!
Tip: If you’re a coffee junkie like me, the app Pilgrim Coffee can show you the best coffee shops near you!
8. Get inspiration on instagram
Would you have thought you can get great tips for new places on Instagram? The app helps so much! It’s great because you can get completely up to date information specifically from locals and travelers who are right at the spots you’re looking to go to. Search through hashtags of the place you’re visiting and you’ll be able to find pictures and information about cool cafés, restaurants, quiet places, and adventurous activities!
Pictures are worth a thousand words. If you ever come across a picture of a colorful smoothie, tasty drink, or a nice juicy burger you definitely need to check that place out!
You can also search for people in the area and use their information as guides. For example, if you search for “Bali” tons of Instagram profiles in Bali are proposed. They’re almost always packed full of beautiful images and tips for locating extraordinary places.
9. Orient yourself with landmarks
In the case that you’re completely lost and disoriented, keep an eye out for city landmarks! Many cities have places like monuments, towers, or particularly tall buildings to make it super easy for to find your way again. For example, Paris has the Eiffel Tower. Kuala Lumpur has the Petronas Towers. Berlin’s got the TV Tower. Auckland: Skytower.
These landmarks are often easily visible from every corner of the city and centrally located to help you orient yourself.
10. Learn the language
If you’re traveling in Central or South America, especially, it’s very advantageous if you speak at least a little Spanish. Just pick the most important and widely used words and phrases to learn by heart. Then you can use them whenever you need to!
You’ll notice you feel a lot more comfortable and secure if you learn the language, and the locals will be even more open to meeting you. Have no fear, though! Saying something the wrong way, or mixing up words is totally fine. Just put on a quirky smile, and you’ll create a beautiful friendship to last your entire trip!
Quickly coping in a new place is super easy!
Any new place is an adventure and a challenge. But, if you take note of a few of these tips, you can quickly turn it into your new temporary home! The best tip I can offer you is to get in touch with locals, because they are by far the best sources for good restaurants, cafés, and secluded places. By pairing this with your use of Google Maps, Instagram, and Foursquare you’ll quickly orient yourself and get even more tips about the place you’re visiting!
In the end, your trip is only as good as you decide to make it. Be open, have fun, and never let your curiosity rest for a moment!
What advice do you have to quickly find your way in a new place? Let us know in the comments!