Getting lost while traveling is an opportunity for serendipity, yet it can be extremely frightening.
Most travelers are equipped with a navigation app or GPS that they can use to find their way to any part of any country within seconds. But, what options do you have if you’ve lost your signal, your device battery is dead, or you simply don’t have enough data on your phone?
Don’t panic. Just follow the S.L.A.P. rule.
S – Stay put. Do not walk around aimlessly. Stay where you are so that others can find you.
L – Look around. Observe your surroundings and look for the safest spot.
A – Ask for shelter. If you see a hotel, cafe, or shop, go to one of these safe places until you’re able to formulate a plan or reach someone who can help.
P – Plan. Once you’re calm and feeling safe, do the following:
Google Translate – Now Offline
Google Translate has a new offline feature. As long as you have the app on your phone, you can use it without internet connectivity. If the country you’re in has a language barrier, this tool will help you communicate with the locals and ask for help.
When you’re asking locals to assist you with directions, do not make it obvious that you’re lost. That can make you an easy target for scams or theft.
Don’t interact with people that you meet on the streets. Go to a big grocery store or a restaurant and ask the staff to help you. Even then, don’t blatantly say you’re lost. Simply ask them to point you towards a landmark or your hotel.
Find an Internet Connection
Most restaurants and cafes like Starbucks and McDonald’s offer free Wi-Fi. You can access Google Maps so that you can learn the route back to your hotel, or you might be able to use the Wi-Fi to contact your travel companions.
Rent a mobile hotspot for a stable internet connection. ‘Tep’ is a popular hotspot renting company. You can also contact your cellular carrier and see what your hotspot options through them are.
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Avoid Cabs – Safety and Scams
If a cab driver meets a lost foreigner, it could turn into a dangerous situation. When you’re alone and lost, try to commute via trains or buses.
If you get into a cab with no idea about your destination, you can easily be kidnapped or robbed. At the very least, you could be taken to the wrong destination, for an exorbitant price. Sometimes, they are not real cabs or drivers at all.
Do not make it obvious that you’re a tourist. Sometimes, cab drivers will overcharge people who are not locals, so familiarize yourself with the currency, value, and the cost of common things that you will be paying for while traveling.
The Benefits of Travel Insurance You Didn’t Know About
Did you know that many travel insurance companies provide 24-hour emergency assistance? Contact your service provider immediately if you find yourself lost in a foreign land.
Along with offering immediate help in multiple languages, the travel insurance company can also help you find transportation, as well as provide certain emergency assistance if needed. Having travel insurance is highly recommended in such a scenario.
Know the Emergency Numbers
Do your research to find out the emergency numbers for the country that you are visiting. Knowing the emergency phone number for the country you’re lost in is paramount. It will be beneficial if you have it saved in your phone if you lose your way.
Every country has its own list of emergency numbers. Apart from 911 in North America, the next most essential one to know would be 112, which works for all countries in the European Union.
Make sure you have at least three phone numbers memorized before you go on your vacation. These should be the numbers of your friends, travel companions, or family. If you end up losing your phone or running out of battery, you should be able to call someone for help by using a public phone.
Road Trip Essentials
It is possible that you might lose your way at least once during a road trip. Here’s what you can do to prepare for such a situation:
Start your trip with a full tank of gas, and carry a physical map. Before you begin driving, mark all of the gas stations and roadside stops that you will pass on your route. Prepare an itinerary for the number and location of stops you’ll make to be sure that you keep your gas tank full, and are able to make any necessary pit stops.
If you find yourself lost, don’t stop in isolated areas. Find a reasonably crowded motel or a crossroads and ask a business owner or staff to point you in the right direction.
If you run out of battery or lose signal on your mobile phone, keep a lookout for emergency telephones next to the road.
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If Lost on a Hike
The breathtaking view from a mountaintop will begin to lose its appeal if you’re stuck there for a night or more, lost.
Cellphones can lose service at high altitude, as well as in wilderness areas. Knowing how to read a compass and map is vital. Check the weather forecast for where you’re going before packing, so you can be prepared for rain or a snowstorm.
Take pictures every time you reach a different landform (mountain, lake, river, etc.). If you end up lost, these pictures will help you find your way back. If you need to wander away from your hiking companions, inform them about the direction you’re heading, and when you plan to be back. Also, do your best to leave a trail as you walk.
Before you leave for your hike, do the following:
- Tell your family or close friends about your hiking location and when you’ll be back.
- Give them a copy of your map with your route drawn on it.
- Ensure you’re physically fit enough for the hike. Leave enough time before you go to build the strength and endurance you will need. If you get lost, you may have to walk father, or on more difficult terrain.
- Pack an emergency shelter. Even if you aren’t planning to camp, be sure to bring an emergency blanket or tarp to protect yourself from the elements if you have to spend an unplanned night outdoors.
Low on Phone Battery? Do This
Mobile phones are the golden ticket to finding your way back if you’re lost. But what do you do if you barely have any battery left and cannot find a charger?
Here’s how to make it last:
- Reduce the brightness
- Turn off Wi-Fi if you don’t need it
- Keep your Bluetooth off
- Enable battery-saver mode in settings
- Shut down all of the unnecessary apps that are running in the background
- If you have an internet connection, download a battery-saving app
- Keep your phone on airplane mode and go as long as you can without using the internet
Purchase a portable charger along with a charging cable
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