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Getting orientated to a new city is super hard - especially if it involves overcoming language barriers, streets with no names, navigating with jet lag etc. Before getting to you our favourite tool, we will take you through our steps that help us get into the right headspace.
1) When arriving to a new city, we always recommend getting comfortable in your hotel or hostel before heading out. This means getting hydrated, napping (if you need to), and a good meal/snack (for us, the more carbs the better!). Exploring is more fun when you aren't hangry!
2) Research points of interest online, asking around in community spaces of your hotel, or at the front desk. Or, commit to exploring without an agenda!
3) Take two hotel business cards on your way out: one in english, one in the local language. These are great to have on you just in case you get lost, and need to ask for directions/hire a cab to take you back.
4) Before getting too far from your hotel, try to spot a tall or unique landmark that you can use to help keep calibrated on your walk
5) Our favourite tool: Maps.ME
This app allows you to download full maps of cities, and everything from your hotel location, landmarks/points of interest, cafes and restaurant; they even give suggestions for points of interest in your area supported by user reviews. Then, the app will offer directional routes for you between points.
Once you have downloaded this map, it is useable OFFLINE (but make sure to download the map when you are in wifi)! This is so important if you did not buy a data plan, or are trying to conserve your data usage. Because the entire map and all of its information has already been pre-downloaded, you can use all of the functionalities while on your walk.
We will admit that while the app has been SUPER useful to us in our personal travels, it is a bit clunky to use. Click here for a youtube demo of using the app before heading out.
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