I would like to share an essential travel trick that helps me navigate when I’m traveling: saving offline Google Maps. Whether you’re hiking through the Rocky Mountains or wandering the countryside in Vietnam with a limited data plan, this is a must if you want to find your way around.
Google Maps is typically used to look up directions, particularly to get from your current location to an end destination. The mobile app will load the relevant streets and route to get you there using a cellular data or wi-fi connection. However, if you are stranded in the middle of nowhere, or in a foreign city with limited cell service, downloading an offline map will eliminates the need to have any internet access to get directions. This is very useful in areas with poor cellular reception or overseas where your data access might be limited.
Here is a step-by-step of how to save offline maps:
1. Search for what city of area you would want to save offline. I picked my favorite island of Phu Quoc in Vietnam for this example.
2. Go to the menu and select “Offline areas.”
3. If you have any existing offline areas saved, you will see them displayed here. I have my home area saved because I use it often. Offline area data expires 30 days after it is downloaded. Click on “Custom area.”
4. It will ask you which area you want to download; you can scroll around and pinch to zoom here. Note that the size of the area will determine how much space the download of the offline map will take up.
That’s it! After downloading the offline map you’ll be able to get turn by turn directions anywhere GPS service is available. This works because GPS location is independent of cellular service.