Staying connected so I can navigate from place to place and research the tastiest nearby food options is a high priority for me. I’ve mentioned often in my “Things to Know Before You Go” posts how cheap and easy it is to get a local SIM cards when you are traveling. Usually that is the perfect solution to my dilemma. However, there are times when you don’t have time to stop for a SIM, it’s really expensive or you’re in the middle of nowhere, so what should you do in that case?
Well, I’m about to enlighten you on a totally free way to have maps and directions at your fingertips!
The answer to your problem is only a few clicks in Google Maps! Thank you again Google, you’re the best! A lot of people I know are not aware of Google’s Offline Maps function, so I want to share the magic with you.
1. Open up the Google Maps App. If you don’t have it already, you can download it via the links below.
2. Type in the name of the city (or country) you want to download a map for.
3. Click the 3 lines in the top left corner.
4. Click “Offline Maps.“
5. Click “Custom Map.“
6. Use 2 fingers and pinch in and out to select the region of the map you want to download. You may have to zoom in more if the “Download Now” button doesn’t appear.
7. Click “Download Now“
8. The map should begin downloading.
9. Your map is now named. In this case it’s “Map 4.” Click the back arrow.
10. Map 4 now appears in your Offline Maps.
11. If you do not want to rename your map, you are all done! You’re now ready to explore Hong Kong (or whatever map you downloaded) without any cellular signal!
If you do want to rename your map, see the additional instructions below.
Rename your Offline Map
1. Click on the map you want to rename.
2. Click the pencil icon in the top right corner to edit the name.
3. Type your desired name.
4. All Done!!
This method has worked for us on almost all of our trips, except China, where they don’t allow Google and Korea where the map will load, but directions won’t load. Hopefully this post makes your next international trip a little easier. Have a blast and stay tuned for more trips and tips!