3 Tips for Wandering Off the Beaten Path (and not getting lost in the trees)

From the Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

Traveling to uncommon destinations can be a rewarding, and challenging, experience. But you’ve got to be prepared for some bumps in the road—both literally as well as figuratively. Here is a list we at Tripbase wish we’d had before we set off for exotic destinations such as The Philippines, Thailand, India, South America, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan, amongst others.

Learn at least a few words of the local language. If you can say excuse me, where, street, there, left, right, straight, and other directional basics, you will be in better shape than you would be without them. Even if the person you ask speaks English (or your mother tongue), they will appreciate your attempt to speak with them in their language and will be more inclined to help.

Don’t ask just one person—ask two. (Or three, or four…). Remember that you are immersed in a different culture. In some places, maintaining face is very important. What does this mean for the lost traveler? If you ask someone for directions, even if they don’t know, they mustn’t admit that they don’t—they will still offer you directions. So ask a few people. If you’ve gotten three “straight and then right” s, chances are your destination is indeed straight and then right. But if you’ve gotten three different answers, maintain your composure and…

Have patience. Try and try again. Keep things in perspective. And remember to smile.

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