Plan Ahead: What to Do If You Get Lost While Traveling


Traveling to a foreign country can be the experience of a lifetime. However, it can also be scary, especially if you become lost. Would you know what to do if you got lost? If you are in a non-English speaking country, or encounter someone who does not speak English, the answer is not as simple as asking for directions. Be prepared ahead of time with these tips in case you get lost while traveling.

Before You Leave the U.S.

Before you ever set foot in your destination country, you need to prepare in case you become lost. As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Before you leave the U.S., do yourself a favor and download Google translate or a similar app. Google translate does not require internet. You may not always have access to the web while traveling, and this app or a similar one will be very beneficial in countries where a language barrier might exist.

If you can, learn a few common phrases in the language of the country in which you will be staying. These phrases will come in handy if you get lost. However, because you will not be fluent in the language, you may have trouble understanding directions in a foreign language.

Therefore, learn how to say, “Hello! I need directions. Can you draw me a map to….” and name your destination. A map will be easier to decipher and get you on your way quickly. Always carry a pen and paper for this purpose.

When You Arrive

Once you have arrived in your destination country, it is always a good idea to carry a map with you. If your hotel does not offer one, ask the front desk or Concierge to find one for you. Having a map handy can help you navigate the city, and find your way back if you get lost.

Always carry a business card from your hotel with you. If you get lost, you can simply ask for directions back to your hotel, or have a taxi take you there.

If You Get Lost

In the event that you become lost, do not panic. Panicking will not help your situation. Look for someone to help you who seems trustworthy. Families with children, the elderly, and public servants such as law enforcement or firefighters are always a good choice. Avoid asking anyone who looks suspicious, and this includes single men. The last thing you want to have happen when you are lost is to be robbed. You must exercise caution.

You can always ask for help at nearby businesses, too. Be sure to ask to employees for help. Having a plan in place before you travel will greatly reduce the chances of you getting lost. If you do become lost, use the helpful tips you just read to find your way back safely to your hotel.