Let us assume you are enjoying cheap holidays to Turkey. You’re having the time of your life, and at this moment, you want to visit the Hagia Sophia, a well-known museum in Istanbul. You want to witness a dazzling display of Islamic architecture and art. You want to see the beautiful, delicate mosaics. You want to observe the beautiful gardens and fountains that surround the magnificent place.

However, how are you going to get there? For some reason, the map that you have somehow doesn’t clearly state the location of Hagia Sophia. Your GPS doesn’t seem to be working; it has run out of batteries after your trek in around the Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia. So, how are you going to get there from your hotel, which is located at the far side of the city?

A good way is to ask someone how to get there. Properly asking for directions should be a skill that every tourist should know. Here are a few tips on how to get the right directions so that you can get to your destination quickly and safely.

1. Admit that you are lost. The problem with many tourists is that they try to figure out the way to get to their destinations even though it is clear that they are truly going nowhere. The result? Well, they pore into their maps and guidebooks, looking confused and scratching their heads. They will obviously look like lost tourists who are ripe targets for thieves, scammers, and people with insidious agendas.

2. Stop at a local business establishment such as a hotel, restaurant, or retail store and ask any front staff (e.g., guards, bellboys, chauffeurs, customer relations staff, etc. for directions. Most are residents in the area and will probably be very familiar with the place you wish to go. If you are away from any establishment, ask a friendly local.

3. Listen to the directions carefully. Many tourists, again, fail in this aspect. Just because the good Samaritan says, “Go straight and turn left,” doesn’t mean you will automatically be heading to the right place. There may be lots of twists, turns, and landmarks along the way. Lend an ear and focus all your attention to what he is saying.

4. If possible, write down the directions. This is particularly true if the directions are complex. Better yet, have the person sketch the direction for you. Ask him to write down landmarks in his sketch.

5. There may be a language barrier between you and the good Samaritan. In other words, the person you’re talking to may have a hard time understanding you and vice versa. That is why it would work to your advantage to learn the translation for common words of direction such as left, right, straight, and blocks.

6. After the person has given directions, repeat the directions to him the way you understand it. This way, you are assured that you got the directions right and the good Samaritan gave the right directions.

7. Thank the person; it is your discretion to give him a tip. Most people will just wave your tip off.

8. While you are going towards your destination, stop once in a while and ask a local if you’re going in the right direction to confirm that you are on the right track.

Call us for more information about practical travel tips.

Categories: Guides