Traveling can be a tough thing, especially when you are woman traveling alone. Our friend Jen shares her secrets how not to be lost while traveling through Latin America:
I love to travel through Latin America, but there is one part of it that I dislike quite a bit. I always seem to find myself getting my directions mixed up, which means I am lost and have no clue where I am! That can be a scary thing, especially if I am vacationing on my own and have no one to calm me down.
Thankfully, I have become a pro at getting lost, and have created numerous ways to keep myself from not getting back to my hotel at night. The first thing that I do is put my hotel information into my cell phone, but then I write it down on a slip of paper as well and place it into my pocket. This has come in handy a time or two when my cell phone battery has died before I made it back to my room.
I also arrive at my destination with printouts of directions to all the attractions that I know that I will be visiting while I am there. I like to have the printouts, so I do not need to rely on my phone and I do not need to have my head buried in a map as I am walking. I can simply sit on a bench and look like I am reading a sheet of paper, instead of looking like a lost tourist. I find that I feel safer that way and it keeps me safer too.
I do, however, carry a map in my bag, just in case I make an unexpected stop or make a wrong turn. Before I open it though, I will usually find a small café with a table, so that I can order an unopened bottle of water to drink as I am looking at it. This way, I can ask my server for assistance if I am having difficulty figuring out where I am. I have found that the servers at restaurants are usually really friendly and can be helpful in situations like this.
If it is getting late in the day, I will grab a taxi and give them the address of my hotel, so that I know that I will reach my destination before it gets too late. After all, I never want to be out walking in places I am not familiar with when it is getting dark.
I am getting better at finding my way around everywhere in Latin America, but these little tips have saved me hours of wandering the streets lost or not making it back to my hotel until way after midnight. Hopefully, with more practice I will master my directional skills, but if not, I at least have some tools that I can use to keep me safe.