Moving to a new city is a huge challenge that requires a complete overhaul of your lifestyle. One of the many challenges that this will impose is your need to navigate a new city on your own. As a driver, you’re probably already used to your own residence. During the last stage of your life in the previous location, you probably didn’t even have to think about the navigation. You knew all the streets like the back of your palm and most of the time you have probably driven on auto-pilot. So, how does one learn to navigate to a new city? How does one adjust in the simplest and quickest way? Here are some tips to help you out.
Do your homework
When moving into a new city, you need to spend the first couple of days trying to do your research. For instance, you need to set your most common points of commute – your work, the closest general store, etc. Check these places on a map and use the navigation the first time you go there. Remember that these are the routes that you will need on a daily and weekly basis and that by mastering them, you’ll already make a huge difference. Later on, you can adjust by taking an odd turn here and there or learning alternative routes by necessity.
Get a decent navigation
Another thing you need is decent car navigation. The truth is that this will resolve the majority of your problems on its own. What you want is an in dash GPS. This will help you stay focused while on the road, as well as get around. Some people rely on their phones for this; however, there are a couple of problems with this method. The fact that you have a notification on your phone might distract you and it will be impossible not to see it if you’re checking your phone for navigation every second. Getting a navigation device is usually the safer way.
Go on your own
This may sound counterintuitive but it is actually the most important thing you need to watch out for. In theory, having a friend who knows the city to show you around is a good thing. The problem is that this makes you too reliant on their guidance. Just think about it, driving a route on your own just once will help you learn it far more effectively than being driven there 20 times. When you’re alone, it’s easier to get focused. You don’t have someone to rely on for guidance and you won’t get lost in conversation. Instead, you will focus on the landmarks around you.
Memories and mementos
One of the best ways to memorize spots is by tying them mentally to a certain memento. Remembering what you did in a specific location will make it easier to remember the location itself. As a newcomer to the city, making memories will be quite easy, especially since you’re a blank slate. The way this goes is fairly simple – you want to go to location X and you try remembering the last time you went there. Was there anything peculiar about the route to and from the location? The streets and landmarks will usually feel familiar if that’s the case.
Take alternative routes
Once you take a certain route enough times, try to make things more interesting by taking an alternative route. Let’s face it, you will eventually be forced to take this route, so why not do it on your own terms and of your own volition. This definitely beats doing so because you have to. By eliminating this extra pressure, it will be a lot easier to learn the area. Also, keep in mind that these alternative routes also help you when you find yourself in a situation where your starting point is different than usual. For instance, while the optimal route from home to work is already known to you, what if you’re not starting at home?
Your social life to the rescue
Finding friends from different neighborhoods will help you make a mental map of the place. Suddenly, the X suburb is no longer a random place but a home of your Y friend. These people may also invite you to local events or suggest that you meet up in coffee places near their residence. This will give you a reason and an incentive to visit this area that you previously had no interest in. Sure, there’s nothing preventing you from visiting the place for no reason but doing it this way seems somehow more organic.
Improve your parking abilities
Keep in mind that if you’re moving to a more urban area, finding a parking spot will become more difficult. Therefore, you need to do all you can in order to improve your parking skills. Learning how to parallel park and taking a couple more hours of driving lessons might be a good idea. Also, pay attention to parking lots around the area. Chances are that this will make you learn they are far more reliably than any other factor.
Prepare for it mentally
The thing that the majority of people struggle with when moving to a new city is definitely their self-confidence. Apartment blocks look the same, the prospect of getting lost is terrifying, and getting around seems somehow off. The key thing you need to understand is that this change happened for a reason and that you need to embrace this place as your new home. Once you have this out of the way, you will make the necessary first step to embrace the city.
These things might be a bit frustrating at first but it is essential that you realize that this process is inevitable. Navigation is not the only skill that you will have to adjust in order to meet the requirements of your new life in the new city. Still, it’s a massive step in being able to call the place your home.