Moving to a new city, let alone a new country, can be extremely disorienting. New culture, new neighborhoods, new street names, new restaurants. Whenever I move somewhere new, I like to go for long runs exploring the area. It helps me get a feel for the different areas and mentally map where things are and how to get there. I find there’s nothing like occasionally getting lost to really learn your way around.
Besides walking around and getting lost, how do you get your bearings in a new place? How do you figure out what restaurants, museums, and activities are worth your time and money? Tips from friends and colleagues are great and there’s a lot to be said for exploration. There are also some really useful apps and websites out there to help you discover. Here’s the rundown on four of my favorites:
Lonely Planet apps – http://www.lonelyplanet.com/apps-and-ebooks
Lonely Planet has dozens of city specific guides on the App Store available for purchase. Technically, they’re travel apps, but expats can benefit from them as well. Like the guide books, the apps include substantial background information on the city, tips on getting around, and maps of public transportation routes. You can also look up a dizzying array of sights, shops, restaurants, activities, and entertainment and filter the results by neighborhood, cost, or just by what’s nearby. It also offers up day trip options so you can explore the city’s surrounds.
Yelp – http://www.yelp.com/
Even though I’ve argued that Yelp doesn’t do a very good job when it comes to international moving, it’s still a great resource when it comes to finding all sorts of other businesses, from doctors and electricians, to trainers and salons. I’d be hard pressed to find a city not listed on Yelp. While not fool proof, their filters do a relatively good job of keeping out spam reviews that plague so many review sites.
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/
Many of us are visual so whats a better way to see all a city or neighborhood has to offer than through pictures? Check out the Instagram app and search for the city or neighborhood that you plan to visit. You can find great food and fun activities that others are loving.
In this digital world, we are all uber-connected and have vast social and professional networks at the tip of our fingers. Why not take advantage of it. Use your social network on Facebook, Linkedin, Foursquare, and Twitter to ask for recommendations in a particular city. Your network will be able to tell you what the city is like and provide great suggestions on restaurants and activities.
What other resources have you found useful in your new city? Post them in the comments so others can benefit.