Finding your way…
Get A Local Map
When you first hit the ground in a new city or unfamiliar location, the fastest way to get your bearings, literally, is with an accurate tourist map.
Tourist maps are chock full of the most popular (and likely safest and vetted) restaurants, parks and attractions.
But not all maps are created equal. In this post, we will discuss the three MOST IMPORTANT criteria your ideal map should have, and why.
Having a physical, local map with key locations marked is invaluable and should be a top priority when going to a new area.
The ideal map should meet these criteria:
- Be to scale
The map should be laid out with appropriate spatial relations, with streets and spaces in between them accurately displayed. Too often, advertising companies try to get into the map-making business and create colorful, eye-catching maps that are completely inaccurate.
- Have most street names displayed
A map is only as good as the information on it. Some maps are so focused on advertising, they forget to give you the essential data to reach a store.
Annotating the locations of nearby hospitals, pharmacies and grocery stores is also an excellent habit.
- Show a compass rose
Make sure that the map you use shows the cardinal directions, North, South, East, West.
Another tip is to note large landmarks in the area, and their relation to each other. That way, when you find yourself at one location but you can see two of your landmarks, you will know which direction you are facing, even if you don’t have a compass.
Aside from your physical map, having a downloaded map in your phone will help during the day-to-day.
For a solid mobile map application, I recommend the app “maps.me”. (I am not affiliated with or endorsed by maps.me.)
It features a detailed, downloadable area map that can work offline, without cell service or wifi.
BLUF: Having a printed map of the local area in your pocket or purse will make you more self-sufficient as you travel, and you won’t be stranded like the average tourist when your phone dies.