It’s no secret that I love walking- especially when exploring a new place. Some days I love to head out into a new city with no plan of where I’m going and no expectations of what I might see. Other days, I know there are key things I want to visit and on those days I use Google Maps to plan my route. Here are three key ways I use the app to make my travel life a lot easier.
1. Download offline Maps
Especially if you are not using a local sim with cheap data this will save you money and stress. Here’s how to download maps before you leave home:
1. Bring up the city you want to download then click on the three lines at the top left corner
2. From here click on “Offline Maps”
3. This will list all your current offline maps and when they will expire. To add a new map go to the bottom of the screen and click on “Custom Map”
4. Then select the area and rename your new map by clicking the pencil in the top right corner (optional)
2. Plan your walking route
Instead of just putting your start and final destination into the app you can add as many stops as you like. You can do this by entering the name of the place or by pinning a spot on the map. This is not only useful in providing a map of where you are going but also gives you a total time estimate for the route which is great for checking if your intended route is realistic for your fitness and the time you have.
1. Once you put in your first stop click the three dots in the top right hand corner
2. Then click on the space next to B where is says “add stop” and either add the name of your next destination or “choose on map”
3. Once you’ve added all your stops you can see your complete route and the total estimated time
3. Plan your travel route
This has been particularly useful for me in Hungary during the low season where apps like Rome2rio have suggests trains and buses that aren’t running. Google Maps on the other hand tells me the local bus number, where to catch it from, when to expect it and allows me to track my journey in real time so I know when to hop off the bus or train. You can also set a reminder to leave on time and transfer to another bus/train and add the trip to your calendar.