Are you super pumped for your next visit to New York City? How about your vacation to Paris? While many tourists and travelers are so excited to visit new, big cities, many of them forget exactly how they'll be getting around a foreign place without the luxury of their own car.
That's when public transportation becomes your friend. When it comes to traveling by subway, the Underground, train, or bus, there are always a few things you'll need to know to make getting around the city as easy as possible. From keeping your pockets empty to phone apps that will map out your route for you, here are 10 tips for getting around on public transport in a new place.
10 Take Advantage Of Your Smartphone
In the golden age of technology at your fingertips, your smartphone just might be the best way for you to get around the new city you're visiting for the first time. With apps that tell you exactly which subway train to take, when the next one is going to arrive, and how long it will take you to where you need to go, your phone can be your best friend when it comes to navigating through public transportation.
Some of the best apps for public transport are CityMapper, Transit, and Moovit. Whether you're a commuter or a tourist, these three apps are a must-have if you're planning to take public transportation on your next trip.
9 Know Your Destination
As much as your smartphone can help you, you still need to know exactly where it is you want to go! If you're going to get on the subway train or the tube or a city bus, it would be helpful to know your destination. Unfortunately, public transportation can become costly, and unless you're looking to ride the subway for fun, having a destination is important.
Riding a New York City subway or the London Underground can be an unpredictable adventure. From train hold-ups to electric blackouts, it's not recommended that you hop on and off the subways while on your trip. Picking a destination and knowing your end goal is a must.
8 3. Include Transporation Costs Into Your Travel Budget
No matter what city you're in, you're going to have to pay for transportation. While this may be a simple thing to remember, many tourists easily forget about budgeting for transportation, especially in big cities where you can't always get your own car, or don't know how to drive in the new country you're visiting.
After budgeting for your flight, your stay, your food, and your leisure activities, you have to budget for transportation. If you're headed to a big city like New York or London, taking the subway is your cheapest bet. While taxis and Ubers are available everywhere, you'll save money by getting a week-long pass that you can scan every time you enter and exit the subway.
7 Don't Freak Out If You're Lost
If you get lost, or get off on the wrong stop, or fell asleep on the train and end up miles away from the town you were trying to get to... it's okay. The world is not over, and you don't have to freak out about it.
One of the best things about traveling is that you'll be a professional at getting around your new city by the time you're ready to leave, but in order to get there, you might get lost a little. When you do, no worries! You can always reset your phone to help you get back on track, or ask anyone around you for help.
6 It's Okay To Ask A Local
In big cities with large populations where it seems like everybody is in a rush to get where they need to go, you tend to feel like you would bother locals with your questions about which train you should take to get to your next lunch spot or which way you should head to get to the theater. However, many times, it's the exact opposite.
If you're kind and considerate and even begin your conversation with a quick, "Hi, sorry to bother you," many locals are happy to help you out. They live, commute, and work in these cities and know public transportation like the backs of their hands. Don't be afraid to ask! You just might get to know the culture a little more by sparking the conversation too.
5 Keep Purses And Bags Close To You
A crowded subway train at rush hour when everyone's personal bubble is being broken is the perfect opportunity for robbers and scammers to try to steal your purses, shopping bags, and anything else that you may be loosely holding while on the subway. If you're in a big city like Paris or New York City, it's always a good idea to keep your bags slung over your shoulders or close to you.
If you have a backpack and are taking a train, many times people will put the straps on their chest and have the backpack facing forward so people who don't stand behind you steal from your backpack pockets either.
4 Keep Your Pockets Empty
Just like with bags, it's always safer to make sure that your pockets are empty. While this may be difficult, especially if you aren't carrying some kind of travel bag to keep your belongings in, there are always ways to avoid being pick-pocketed.
Make sure there are no valuable items in your back pockets like money, watches, or your cell phone. If you carry things in your pockets, make sure they're tucked securely in the ones on the fronts of your pants or jeans. It will be harder to steal that way. Additionally, just make sure you're aware of your surroundings, and you'll be okay!
3 Hold On Tight
At a rush hour or at mealtimes, public transportation cars can get extremely crowded. More often than not, you might find yourself standing in the middle of the train car, rather than sitting down at a seat. When you do, you've gotta make sure you have a tight grip on the railings near you.
When the car takes off or comes to a stop, passengers tend to swing back and forth. Keeping hold to the bars or handles around you will prevent you from smashing or leaning into the strangers around you.
2 Be Aware of Your Surroundings
We know commutes and taking subways can get monotonous, especially if you're traveling for more than 20 minutes to any destination. However, it's super important to always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you're in a new city that you've never been in before.
If you're going to listen to music while taking public transportation, try listening with only one earphone in - this will allow for you to stay alert to announcements on the train and the people around you. Be sure to also look around you, instead of keeping your head buried in your phone. It's always better to be safe, no matter where you are.
1 Be Considerate
Being considerate on public transportation is a really important thing to carry out. When it comes to subways and train cars, there are a few general rules of consideration that people tend to follow.
Offering your seat up for the elderly, parents with young children or the handicapped is always a generous thing to do, and many locals will appreciate you for being so courteous while traveling. By doing this, not only do you allow for someone else to feel comfortable on their commute, but you also show the city you're in that you're a respectful tourist, and connecting with the city through acts of kindness is one of the best things you can do as a traveler.