How to Ask for Directions in English
Have you ever been lost? What did you do? You probably pulled out your mobile phone, entered the address, and followed the directions. But what if you’re visiting another country and don’t have data? Or speak the language? Here are some tips to help you navigate and ask for directions in English.
Find a map
When you have the internet but no data, ask for a map at your hotel. Find your location so you can see where you are in the city.
If you are in a tourist area, get a map from a visitor center. Even if you don’t use it, having it can make you feel better. Employees at these centers often speak more than one language and can help you find where you are going.
When You Have Wi-Fi
If you have access to the internet, use Google Maps or Moovit for directions. Then take a screenshot of the directions and the map before you leave.
You can also download a map that does not need data likes Maps.ME or Here WeGo. These are very helpful if you remember to use them! Another great app for your phone is a compass. If you know the area of your destination, you can use it to head in the right direction.
If you are visiting the U.S., you can find Wi-Fi in most coffee shops and major stores like Target or Walmart.
When You are Driving
If you have rented a car, it’s best to spend the extra money for the navigation (GPS) system. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration. If you didn’t spend the money, ask for directions at a gas station. They may ask you to buy a map.
Ask for Directions
If you get lost, ask a police officer for help. They are often friendly and know the area very well. If you don’t see one, stop a person on the sidewalk. Try to avoid people who are walking quickly. If you have trouble understanding them, walk in the direction they point and ask someone else further on.
“Excuse me, can you help me find…”
“Excuse me, do you know where …is?”
“Excuse me, I’m looking for…”
Responses can include:
“Go straight ahead.”
“It’s across the street.”
Don’t understand them? Try saying:
“Can you please speak more slowly?”
“Can you please repeat that?”
Join a Tour
If you are nervous about exploring a new city in a foreign country, sign up for a guided tour! They will do all the work while you relax and enjoy the sights. Also consider doing a tour or a hop-on-hop off bus for a few days. After that you will have a better idea of the city.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Lost!
Getting lost is one of the best ways to explore a new place. By leaving the tourist areas, you will discover typical towns or neighborhoods. Restaurant prices are also cheaper. Pay attention, though. If the buildings are in poor condition, there are few people on the street, or too many people loitering, you may want to turn around! Click here to listen to some more sample dialogues. If you want to practice your travel English, visit us today!