Most developed and even undeveloped countries have mobile Internet access, but it is not always possible to get a signal. Europe is pretty technologically advanced, but there are some remote places that do not have sufficient mobile-Internet cover because of the topography or even because the closest mobile-Internet towers are down. If you have no mobile or WIFI Internet on holiday, here is you make sure you don’t get lost.
Save maps to your Smartphone before you leave your hotel
This is a simple trick. People assume they can rely on their GPS or Smartphone apps, but without a signal–they may be useless. Download and save maps of the entire city if you wish, so that you may look at them offline when you need them. You may find it difficult to locate yourself, but if you look for landmarks, you can get a good idea of where you are. One app we can recommend is Tripadvisor, which let you download a map, together with all points of intersts. We used Tripadvisor in Dubai. Before we went there, we had downloaded all content related to Dubai beforehand so we could use the map when we were out of the hotel room and did not have mobile Internet access.
Print a map or two if you are going somewhere remote
A remote place such as a forest, canyon or dessert may result in you losing your phone or its battery dying. As a precaution, you can take a solar powered charger, though your best bet is to take a printed map. Maps that concentrate on topography and such will help you the most. Also, it can be a good idea to buy a compact travel guide and/or map over an area beforehand. Sometimes, you can get these for free at the airport, hotel receptions and similar places.
Learn how to navigate with a map and compass so you don’t get lost
Do not try to figure it out when you are actually in trouble. Get to grips with a compass and map before you go out adventuring. Do not forget that the sun goes from East to West and that there is more than one type of map for certain areas. This is especially imporant if you visit areas of wilderness and mountains. Topography photos might help as well. When we climbed Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise, we used the photo below:
Do not underestimate the power of knowing the native language
Being able to ask a local person where something is may be the thing that saves you from being lost. The more you venture away from the tourist areas, then the higher the chances are of you being somewhere where you need to know the language. If you don’t know the language, bring out the map and get a friendly native to point ut some directions for you.
Do not go exploring alone
Go with at least one other person and you double your chances of finding your way back. Both of you may pool your knowledge of what you have seen and passed in order to figure out your way back. The more people you have, then the easier it is to find your way out of a situation.
Use landmarks over street names or place names
The biggest and tallest landmarks can help you find your way better than looking for street names and public areas. Even a large building with a large sign on it may help you navigate. The McDonalds arched “M” has helped many people find their way around because it is easy to recognize and they often have them placed in very visible areas.
Call a taxi and tell them your destination
This may end up with you being ripped off by a taxi driver as he drives you in circles for hours, but it is second only to using a bus service to get you to a larger bus station/terminal, (where you may find a way back to your desired location).