Getting lost is one of the most frustrating occurrences for both guests and hosts.
(Or maybe that’s just me…I have an amazing proclivity for getting lost. When we first moved to Rhode Island, I drove around with two maps in the car – an atlas and a customized MapQuest [does anyone even use MapQuest anymore?] printout with “home” and “church” and other important locations marked on it. I still got lost. Frequently. Part of that can be attributed to RI’s lack of proper street signs, but I’ll claim most of the blame as my special talent. One time, we were invited somewhere new for dinner, about 5 miles from my work. Matthew drove separately and got there before me. I got so lost that even repeated phone calls couldn’t rescue me, and Matthew had to leave the dinner, find me, and guide me to the house. Dinner was really cold by the time we sat down to eat.)
You don’t want that to happen to you. Or your guests. So give them good directions.
By that I mean, don’t actually give them directions (of the “turn right at the brown house” sort). The webcomic XKCD agrees that’s rarely necessary anymore, since most people have GPS’s in their cars or smart phones with Google Maps apps.
Here’s what I do mean:
1. If they have GPS technology, give them your address. Or type your address in to Google Maps on the “to” part of the directions and send them the link to the map so they can easily get directions from their house to yours.
2. Describe your house, or better yet, send them a picture of it. Either take a picture and email/text it to them, or use Google Street View to show them your neighborhood. Go to maps.google.com and type in your address. See the little orange man on top of the zoom bar on the left of the map? Drag him onto the street in front of your house. Whoa! Crazy! Google knows where you live! (Creeper.) In the upper right of the image, there’s a “link” button. Click that, get the link, and send it to your guest. (Incidentally, Google Maps has not updated our street view since we got siding on our house. So…it wouldn’t actually be recognizable. Ha.)
3. Create a customized map. My husband met someone for breakfast this morning in a part of Providence we’re very familiar with, but his friend is not. So Matthew used Google Maps and a little piece of software called Snagit to create a custom map. This one image gives directions, the address, a picture of the place they were meeting, and parking instructions. You could use a screen shot and any paint or image editing software to do the same.
Do you have a tale of getting lost going somewhere new? Or had guests get lost on the way to your house?