If the thought of getting lost in a foreign destination gets you a little anxious, you’re not alone. This is why many travellers prefer to lug around physical maps to guide the way. Sure, digital maps are all good and well, but what happens when you’re stuck without signal? Or if you don’t feel like spending a whole bunch of money on data?
Ladies and gentlemen – we give you the offline map app! This useful tool is here to make your exploring stress-free and easy! Here are a few of our favorite apps for iPhone and Android:
Sometimes there’s just no need to reinvent the wheel. Google Maps is popular for a reason – it works! That is why it is by far the most popular navigation app in the world. Now you can take advantage of its offline maps functionality to navigate anywhere around the globe, even without an internet connection. It offers accurate maps for 220+ countries, as well as transport schedules and maps for 15 000+ cities. Best of all – it is compatible with plenty of languages, including English, Chinese, German, French, Croatian, etc. You can download Google Maps for offline use for free here.
Maps.me has an excellent reputation among travellers. It is incredibly detailed and points out a whole bunch of helpful things. E.g. drinking fountains, pharmacies, places of interest – everything you need when you’re exploring a new destination. It even lists the smallest dirt roads and off-the-beaten-track attractions. Restaurants, hotels, parking spots and even Wifi zones are covered. The search function works offline, and the maps feature a small avatar that shows you where you are in relation to roads and places. You can download Maps.me for free here.
HERE WeGo is one of the map apps that is giving Google a serious run for its money. We like its clean, elegant interface that allows for map downloads – to use offline all over the world. It also features traffic info and public transit maps. Not to mention that you can customise your maps by saving certain locations, and alter maps with your own info once downloaded. Download HERE WeGo on Google Play here.
OSMand provides exceptional offline navigation. This includes turn-by-turn voice guidance, re-routing and search. The apps comes in both a free and paid version. The free version limits the user to 10 map downloads, one of which must be the world base map. Other map add-ons, e.g. contour lines, need to be paid for. However, trip recording, audio/video notes and distance calculators simply need to be enabled. Download OSMand here.
Most of these apps are suitable for use on both iPhone and Android devices. We categorised it according to prevailing usage preferences. Feel free to mix it up!
Did you know? Isolated tribes in the Amazon are now using technology like GPS and Google Earth to map their lands, monitor illegal logging and mining, and maintain ties to their history and cultural traditions including knowledge of medicinal plants.
Still not sure which app will work best for you? No problem! You can:
Get in touch with an Expat Explore tour liaison. We’ll be happy to guide you in your selection via phone, email or chat.
Visit the nearest outlet of your cellphone provider. These fine folks know their products inside out. Chances are they’ll be able to download a suitable app for you on the spot.
Once you have your app installed, we recommend that you take some time to play around with it. Take it for a spin in your hometown. This is a good way to get familiar with the way it works. Once you have the hang of using it in a place you know pretty well, it will be all the easier to trust it when you hit the road the less travelled.
Top Tip! Still a little worried that you’d get lost without your trusty printed map? Download a translation app! This way you’ll be able to ask for help or directions if you get stuck. Follow this link to see a few good ones.