Navigating a New City

Posted by Gina Saulsbury on March 26, 2014

I recently took a weekend trip to a big city -- new to me -- and shocked my friends when I was navigating the city like a long-time local. My secret? A little bit of research and some major Google Maps help.

Taxi!

Are you planning a trip to a new-to-you-city anytime soon? Here are my tips for traversing a new town.

  • Get social. About a week before my trip, I sent out a quick note on all my social media platforms, asking friends and followers to share their favorite local spots. It was neat to see how wide my social circle reached when I got responses from old friends, coworkers and those local to the city I was headed to. If you don’t want to notify your social media followers that you will soon be out of town, you can always check TripAdvisor for local hotspots.
  • Create a custom map. The geography nerd in me really came out on this part. If you go to Google Maps Engine, you can create custom maps, drop pins, add notes and make a unique map with your destination in mind. This great tutorial taught me how.
  • Forget cabs. The new hip thing is private car service apps. Uber and Lyft are two apps to download and have on your phone when you need a ride. Drop a pin in the app map and a driver will pick you up and take you to your next location. You can enter your credit card information in the app, and you don’t have to worry about paying in the car or cash tips. I found Uber to have very professional drivers (think former taxi drivers) and Lyft drivers to be very down-to-earth and fun. Try them out for yourself. Use dek0u for a $20 credit to Uber, or click here for a $25 credit to Lyft (first time users only!).
  • Find a temporary office. You know the drill; sometimes it’s hard to step away from the office on vacation. Locate a local coffee shop that offers free WiFi. You can easily pop in, send that important email and hang out with the locals while you get your caffeine fix. While you’re there, ask the barista for their favorite local spots.

So when you have finally deplaned or have reached your road-trip destination, you will be eternally grateful that a little bit of planning and research will maximize your vacation time.

Do you have other tips for navigating a new location? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet your responses using the hashtag #mcgblog.

Topics: Travel