By: Kristine C.
Prepare as much as possible beforehand
One of the greatest tips that I learned by traveling is prepare as much as possible by Googling/researching every day until your trip! When you have picked a location, mentally walk yourself through every step from departure to arrival. When you land in the airport, how are you going to get to the city center? Can you sleep overnight in the airport or are they going to close the airport down overnight? In most places, there is almost always a public bus that runs from airports or bus stations to the city center. However, these normally do not run in the early morning hours (midnight-5 am) so plan accordingly! Pro-tip: If you want to take an Uber or taxi, in many places they are at a double rate for evening hours. I suggest either getting to the airport earlier as this gives me peace of mind.
Walk with a purpose
This is a tip that I learned from my aunt who lives in New York City! She said that she always knows where she wants to be going and keeps her eyes straight forward and her head held high. I thought that this was silly advice at first, but as I started practicing what she preached I realized that I blended right in and was not bothered like many of the other tourists! Pro-tip: If you are using wifi only, plan out your day to land at places where you can reconnect to it and before you leave one place to go to the next, download your map on Google Maps so that the little blue dot can tell you when you are off track!
Ask for help when needed
Do not talk to strangers is a great rule of thumb except for when you actually really do need help! Just be smart about who you are asking for help. I find it really great to ask people at information booths, store owners, and grocery store owners. I would recommend not walking up to someone in the center of a busy square and asking them for directions. This immediately identifies you as lost and vulnerable! Pro-tip: Get a sim card with data on it and download WhatsApp. The data on a sim card is extremely cheap and gives you access to Google Maps and WhatsApp which can let you call family and friends if you really are caught in a pickle!