Find your way around before you get there…

Where is your hotel? How will you find it? Are there any distinctive landmarks nearby, churches, fountains, statues, a river or a park? Are there any bars or restaurants nearby? How far is the nearest metro?

I find Googlemaps and Streetview an indispensible tool to find my way around almost any city in the world and get a sneak preview. They do work best in cities where there are actual streets to walk down and view from every possible angle.

With this simple, worldwide tool you can walk around Paris, Rome, New York, Sydney or Rio de Janeiro and look at the hotel, see what it looks like so you can recognise it when you get there and know roughly how close you can get to it by public transport

Googlemaps and Streetview doesn’t work as well for beach destinations, at least not yet, but it is still possible to look at the satellite view and tell whether the beach is big or small, wide or narrow and whether it is in a busy, built up area or remote with nothing around it.

You can recognise your hotel, quickly find the nearest metro, the closest bars and restaurants. You can tell if it is in a busy area or down a quiet alley, whether there is a park or green space to sit and relax for a while, whether it is a good place to walk, how easy it is to find, whether there are rivers, bridges, tall buildings or distinctive landmarks nearby, even if there are hills or cobblestones to negotiate.

You can find a hotel that is closest to the exhibition centre, business meeting or near your friend or family’s address by typing in the specific address, locating it and then typing hotel into the searchbox. Using the same method, you can pre arrange a meeting in a location convenient to your hotel just by locating your hotel on googlemaps and then typing eg restaurant, museum or theatre into the searchbox, choosing one and then searching directions by foot or public transport

Just as an aside and for sheer amusement, look at directions for Los Angeles to Beijing, Tokyo to Beijing and Taipei to Beijing. Each one of them has some interesting and challenging ways of getting there.

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