Tips for when navigating skills are hopeless after brain injury

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Following my brain injury I wasn’t sure if I would be able to travel ever again. I was too anxious all the time to face people and new situations. But also I realised that I would struggle to go from A to B as it couldn’t remember the route. In Clearly lost, the snag of brain injury, I talked about how in the early days how distressed  I was that I couldn’t find my way round my home town. But I have got better at that and have been on a couple of holidays since. But this time we were going on a long haul flight to Mexico. Very exciting, but all I can say is it good that the pilot didn’t need my input for navigating the course. We could stuck in the South Pole otherwise!

As I don’t go many places any more, I hadn’t realised I still struggle to commit routes to memory.  Although I still take a lot of wrong turns, when it is somewhere I have been many times, I can work it out. Eventually. But navigating in a new environment is a completely different kettle of fish.

Tips on how to safely navigate your holiday resort when you are struggling with a brain injury.

We were staying at a huge resort. There were golf carts that would stop at “bus stops” to take you where you wanted to go as it was so vast. Whilst this was very convenient, I still never knew where I was. If we had gone to one of the many restaurants for dinner, but were then going to head to a bar, I had no idea where I was going. You might not think that is surprising.  But how about this: every time the golf cart would drop us within a door or two of our room, I never recognised which was ours. That is despite the fact that ours was at the end of a row, making it significantly easier.

Nevertheless we had a amazing time. Whilst I did let James do most of the planning and navigating during our trip, there are some things that can help when you haven’t got a personal chaperone.

Tips on how to naviagte your holiday resort, even with a brain injury

Tips for navigating your holiday resort:
  1. Get a map. Large resorts have maps to give you an indication what they have to offer during your stay. If they don’t automatically offer you one, make sure you ask for it. Get them to mark on it where your room is along with the room number. When all else fails, you can show this to someone to make sure you can always safely return to the privacy of your own room.
  2. Download the resorts app. Many large resorts have apps now where they have details such as room service. Some even let you book a time at their specialist restaurants and browse the menus.
  3. Plan ahead. Even if it’s only a day or two  in advance, it’s much easier navigating your way when you have already decided where you want to go. Then you can make sure you have your plan written down to remind you.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask. I know when you have social anxiety talking to strangers is difficult. But the staff are there to help you. So if you are lost, show the staff your plan and let them escort you.
  5. If you can’t find anyone to ask, a GPS app might help. I am a fan of the Life 360 app. James and I use it all the time so we know where we both are. So he can always find me if I’m lost. It’s free, and you can get really good detail from it. Business buildings are named on there so you can see exactly where you/they are. Some people find it a bit creepy that someone can track you all the time. But for me it’s a safeguard. We trust each other unconditionally so for us it’s not an issue. To get more details on the Life 360 app click here.

New experiences do help your brain, so when you can it is a good idea to go different places and try new things. I know it can be scary, but until you push yourself, you don’t know what you can achieve.

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Do you struggle navigating now? Have you got any tips on what can make it easier?

I have lost my navigating skills since my brain injury, and struggle to remember where to go. It gets even harder when you go on holiday. But there are some tricks that can help you join up the dots, and not get lost on your resort.
5 tips to stop you from getting lost at your holiday resort thanks to your brain injury.
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