Things You Should Do Before Leaving Your Hotel For The First Time

When you first arrive at your destination and get settled in at your hotel, it can be tempting to hit the ground running and start chipping away at your itinerary. However, you might regret not taking a little extra time to get oriented and preparing to return to your accommodation later on. This advice is especially pertinent for cities that have a lot of similar-looking streets and buildings that might get you turned around if you arrive later in the evening with a dead phone.

Luckily, there are plenty of super easy steps you can take to quickly establish where you are and how to return there without taking much — if any — time away from your most highly anticipated tourist activities. This will require just a few extra steps of preparation, but it's nothing you can't do while sitting in the taxi on your way to the hotel or waiting to get checked in at the front desk. 

Try both digital and analog methods

Firstly, and probably most importantly, save the address on your phone. Write it down in your Notes app, save it in Apple Maps or Google Maps as a "Favorite," text it to a friend (especially if they're traveling with you), whatever it takes; just make sure there are several different places where you can find this address digitally.

Now, let's say you were taking too many HD videos at the Louvre, and your phone died because you didn't think to bring an external battery with you. Well, firstly, don't forget an external battery. That's a noob move. However, if you do and your battery is unreliable or your phone gets stolen, you'll also want to get the address written down on a piece of paper somewhere. You don't want to find yourself out of luck and relying on the kindness of strangers to help you charge your phone or find your way back. Make sure this piece of paper is tucked away somewhere in a pocket on your person just in case you have a really crappy first day of travel and your purse gets stolen.

Study the area to get oriented

Another surefire way to prevent yourself from getting lost is to identify either a main road that crosses or is parallel to the road your hotel is on, or the closest metro, tram, train, or bus stop. This way, you can ask a local to point you in the direction of that main road or find these on a map of the posted public transportation network.

Alternatively (and this one is our favorite), find a small coffee shop or bar near your hotel, grab a bite to eat and a drink, and sit outside. While enjoying your snack, take some time to look around and absorb your surroundings mindfully. Don't stare at your phone! This will help you remember what's around your hotel more easily, and when you pass by it, you'll know you're in the right spot. If you get a chance to chat with the barista or waiter, you might even make a friend who can help guide you back if you truly can't find your hotel.