Business travel is full of traps for the unwary. Apart from turning up to meetings tired, irritated, glucose-deficient, with the wrong notes and, quite possibly, the wrong shoes, there is the ever-present risk of getting lost in a strange city. One of the things you can do to make like easier for yourself is to make sure that, come what may, you will be able to find your way to where you want to be and back again.
Have a Reliable Base
A real sign that you are traveling too much is when you forget which hotel you are staying in. Try to stand on your rights to choose your own hotels, and have its name and preferably its image easily to hand. Often hotels are known to taxi drivers by names that differ from the official names.
There’s a lot to be said for staying near an airport, as it is very difficult to lose it! For instance, visitors to Montreal would not go far wrong with the Marriott Fairfield Inn Montreal Airport.
9 times out of 10, your smartphone is all you need to find your way around. Google Maps gets more powerful all the time and will invite you to download the map of the city you are in so that it doesn’t matter if you lose connectivity.
If using public transport you will want a good app to give you the best routes by bus and subway. Transit works well in Montreal and many other cities worldwide. You may rely on the Uber app for taxis but many cities have local companies that are just as good, like Montreal’s all-electric Téo taxis. And if the way gets blocked to traffic, you can always revert to a bicycle, finding the nearest Montreal Bixi bike with the Biximo app—equivalent schemes exist in many big cities.
It is always a good idea to have a backup, generally in the form of a humble map. Don’t go out in a strange city without one. Mark on it the places you need to go. Even if the language is a problem, you can always wave it in front of a native and get some sort of directions.
Learn to get your bearings from physical signs around you. You can usually get a basic compass direction by:
- Finding the sun and working out which way is south (or north in the southern hemisphere).
- Knowing the direction of the prevailing wind and looking for clues, like the way trees grow away from the wind.
- Knowing which way the satellite dishes face in your given city.
- Finding places of worship and knowing which way they are generally orientated.
Never Get Lost
A combination of the gadgets that all business travelers carry and the native wit with which we are born should ensure that you never need to get lost, even in the most confusing of cities. It is just one more stress factor that you can manage without.