While getting a little bit lost when traveling can add adventure to your trip, if you get lost in a foreign country, it can be a little scary, and dangerous, if you aren’t careful. Especially if you don’t speak the language, it’s stressful and you may start to panic. I’ve outlined my top 5 tips for what to do if you get lost.
1.Don’t Panic. Ok, this is easier said than done, but panicking will not help you find your way back. In fact, when you panic, it’s even more disorienting. Try and stay calm and clear your head so that you can use logic and memory to get you on the right track again. If you realize that you’re lost, try and calm down so you can think logically and calmly.
2. Don’t ask for directions on the street. While it may seem logical to ask someone on the street, it’s safer, especially if you are traveling alone, to find a store and ask for directions inside. If you’re out on the street and you tell someone you’re lost, you’ve just potentially put a target on your back. Asking in a store doesn’t give someone the chance to give you wrong directions where they can follow you and lead you into a bad situation. If possible, fake it until you make it. If it’s not an option to ask in a store, try and find a security guard, police officer or pop into a hotel and ask their staff. Stay safe and let as few people as possible know that you are lost.
3. Retrace your steps. Try and think of the last thing you remember passing. If you took pictures throughout your day, use them to retrace your steps. Find landmarks that you remember and see if they jog your memory.
4. See if you can spot a fellow tourist or tour guide. If there is a large group with cameras and someone with a flag leading them around, chances are they’re tourists. Ask for their help, tourists are usually willing to help fellow tourists and are generally a safe option for help. You can even ask their tour guide where they are headed. If it’s somewhere you are familiar with, ask if you can tag along until they get there. They can lead you back to where you were trying to go, or at least point you in that direction.
5. If you are walking and really can’t find your way, hail a taxi. Some cities, especially older ones, have so many winding small back alleys and roads that they all start to look the same. Sometimes even with clear instructions, I can still get lost, so if it comes to a point where you can’t find your way, hail a taxi. Taxi drivers are local and will navigate through the streets easily and get you back safely. This is especially a good idea if you find yourself lost and in a sketchy area. It happens quickly, you’re wandering back streets and all of a sudden you’re in an area that just doesn’t feel right, but you can’t remember how to get back… Be safe and smart, get a taxi, it doesn’t even need to be all the way back, just until you are somewhere you recognize again.
Be safe and be smart. If you get lost, try and find your way out of it, but don’t be too proud to get help. Especially when lost in foreign country, be aware of your surroundings, if you are struggling to find your way back, get a ride or get help. Being lost is not always a bad thing, let yourself wander for a while, but if you notice that it’s getting dark or it’s been a long time, then it’s time to stop wandering and figure out how to actually get back.