We’ve all at one time or another
felt lost unexpectedly explored a new neighborhood. One wrong turn coming out of the subway station, or one station too far, and it’s a whole different planet. The stores don’t look right, street vendors look hostile, even the pigeons look aggressive.
So what’s a traveler to do, besides keep a full charge on the cell phone and update the map applications? Depending on the time – especially at night – here are some survival tips that might be useful.
- LOOK FOR: people with dogs. They’ll know the neighborhood well enough to explain shortcuts, and friendly businesses.
- LOOK FOR: people with children. If the adults misdirect you the children will likely interrupt with a correction.
- LOOK FOR: restaurants, laundries or movie theaters. Chances are, someone can quickly give directions. Also, very good chances at getting food or a quick drink if the “one stop” detour turns out to be more like 10 New York City avenue blocks. Bonus points if there’s a clean bathroom.
- ALSO GOOD: churches. Regardless of denomination. Remember the tradition of churches as sanctuaries.
- AVOID: businesses that have very little activity. If nobody goes in – or even scarier, nobody comes out – there might be a good reason to stay away.
- AVOID: loud crowds where possible. Very rarely groups of people can be helpful. Trust your gut.
- AVOID: looking lost. Even if there are no landmarks, walk and act as if home is just around the corner.
Most important: if you stop to check your phone, be mindful of your surroundings. Being disoriented is bad enough, without dropping or losing your phone.
Do you have any other suggestions for exploring, without looking like a (GASP) tourist? Share below.