Heading out for vacation or business trip is exciting, but that excitement can quickly transform into stress if you end up lost or struggling to navigate in unfamiliar surroundings. A little preparation before you depart and extra precautions while you're at your destination keep you on schedule and keep you from wasting time trying to find your hotel or the art museum. Try these six tips to make your next trip run a little more smoothly whether you get around by bike, walk on foot, or take a taxi, like one with Southwest Florida Transportation Group, Inc., everywhere.

Save Maps Offline

You might be used to using your smart phone to check out maps as you go, but many cities across the globe still have dead zones where cell phone reception is spotty or altogether missing. Save static versions of relevant maps to your phone so you can still check street names and find your destination if you lose service. This can also save you a lot of money on data charges and roaming costs.

Plan Your Routes Early

Sit down a week or two before your departure and look over the maps for the areas around your hotel. Locate any attractions, restaurants, business meeting points, and other destinations you plan to visit. Jotting down some quick notes on the general distance traveled and the streets you need to take will save you a lot of trouble and reduce stress when you're on the ground trying to remember whether the park is on Fifth or First Street.

This is essential if you plan to save money by driving a rental car or using public transportation. However, it's still helpful when you decide to use a taxi service to get around because you'll notice if the car starts heading in the wrong direction due to a miscommunication with the driver.

Keep Emergency Backup Information

Deciding to stick to the subways and buses for your trip is an admirable travel goal. Unfortunately, driver strikes, bad weather, and confusing schedules make this impossible sometimes. Program the number for a taxi service that operates 24 hours a day into your phone so you can always call for pickup if you suddenly find your bus hitting the end of the line in a shady neighborhood at midnight.

Look for Discount Transportation

Many taxi services are happy to offer you a discount on their usual rates if you schedule pickup and drop off in advance for the entire trip. This is a smart way to save money while getting efficient and safe transportation. Try scheduling trips to theme parks and business meetings and walking or taking public transport for spontaneous trips to souvenir shops and restaurants that aren't far from your hotel.

Request Concierge Help

It's the job of the concierge to help you get around in your unfamiliar city, so take advantage of their services. Bring their number along to get help immediately if you do find yourself lost. They'll supply you with directions and call a taxi if you discover you've wandered farther away than you expected.

Bring Business Cards and Ads

Finally, grab a business card from your hotel and print out ads for your favorite attractions to make communication easier. Showing your taxi driver or the subway ticket seller an address is the fastest way to get where you want to go, especially when you don't know much of the language.

Armed with high-tech maps and some information on where you want to go, you don't have to worry about getting lost in a strange city ever again. Budget a little extra for your trip so you can always afford to call an experienced taxi driver to rescue you if you get turned around and end up in an unfamiliar area.