I have a problem. I love travelling, but I am absolutely clueless when it comes to finding my way around in a foreign country. I once spent 2 hours endlessly wondering around trying to find my way back to my hotel room. Has anyone got any suggestions? Maps do not help me either as I am unable to figure out North from South. I do not want to waste my next holiday trying to find my way around.
Thanking you in advance,
The easiest solution would be to find a travelling companion who DOES have a good sense of direction.
It's often difficult to know which way is north or south in a foreign city. But you can buy a small compass (keychain-size). Also, take a look at a map of the destination you are going to, before you go there, to become familiar with the street names and general layout of the city.
Most cities have a central axis- either a main street or a river. Or they have a focal point, like the Acropolis in Athens. If you can find your way there, you can usually get a sense of where you are, and find your way to where you want to be.
Whenever I check into a hotel, I get a business card from the front desk. That way, if I get truly and hopelessly lost, I can jump into a taxi, show the driver the card, and at least get back to my hotel.
I hope that's helpful.
You can buy pretty cheap GPS's nowdays and load the maps of the area you are heading to then never be lost again. If you have a smart phone you can log into googlemaps and check out where you from there too.
Perhaps I am old-fashioned, but I prefer maps to GPS, GPS screen doesnt match map-size.
Remember that maps generally (in Europe at least) have north UP, so south is DOWN, west is LEFT and east is RIGHT on the map.
A compass is an ok idea,but beware of deviation. Lot of not too advanced phones have an electronic compass (my five years old NOKIA have one in the sports-menu), it is perhaps more reliable than a cheap, small magnetic compass.
If you can see the sun and know local time, the sun is in the south at noon, east at 6 AM, west at 6 PM and north at 12 PM (you have to spend some time north of the arctic circle in summer to actually see that).
Hope this was a little help.