Cab or Uber? Travel Tips in a New City
Whether you’re just visiting or making a permanent move, navigating a new city is overwhelming. Each city has its own unique way of getting residents from point A to point B, so even if you’ve mastered the Metro in DC, the T in Boston might still be a challenge for you. That’s why you should beef up on the best ways to get around your new adopted city before you pack up your suitcase or car. If you plan to move or travel soon, follow our steps to getting around an unknown city without a meltdown:
- Know the basics. In Chicago, there’s the Loop. In Philadelphia, there’s Center City. No matter which metropolis you’ll be traveling to, you should figure out how locals navigate downtown (and probably what they call it) and determine any landmarks that can help get you back on the right track, should you get turned around. Whether it’s a famous park, a Great Lake, or a legendary building, having at least one major point of reference logged away could help point you in the right direction.
- Research the public transportation system. Do you need to buy a card? Tokens? A ticket? These are questions you should already have answered before you hop on Dallas’ Dart or attempt to ride the New York subway. Try to get familiar with the train or bus lines you’ll need to use most in the city, and at least have a rudimentary understanding of how (and when) the public transit system runs before you board a plane.
- Recruit a tour guide. This should be a pretty intuitive part of planning a short-term trip specifically to see a pal, but if not, you might not think to call up an acquaintance or friend. You should. Anyone who loves his or her city is happy to show a newbie around. Even if you don’t set up a meeting with your unofficial tour guide, it’s still helpful to have his or her number on hand in case you get terribly lost.
- Don’t be afraid to bust out a paper map. You can’t always count on your smartphone in the midst of skyscrapers and crowded city airwaves. So don’t hesitate to throw it back with an old school paper map. Streetwise makes a line of small, easy-to-fold city maps that clearly lay out the downtown areas of virtually every major city, from San Antonio to Rome. An added bonus? Chances are a local will come to your aid if he sees you referring to a map.
- Get a local cab company’s number. When all else fails, there’s always a cab driver to come rescue you. On the off chance that you won’t be able to flag one down in the street, find a highly rated local cab company and have its number ready to go in your phone when you arrive. You might also want to download the Uber app, which allows you to set up a cheaper ride with an amateur driver at a few strokes of the touch screen.