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You’re backpacking. Backpacking 2.0. You don’t really want to buy a SIM card, so you are dependent on restaurants, your accommodation or sneakily stand on the corner of Mc Donalds to catch their free WiFi. But what if you go on the road and you don’t have WiFi anymore? How are you going to get by on the busy roads in terms of navigating? After all, you’re not a Backpacker 3.0 with a large atlas on your lap… Luckily, nowadays there are handy ways to use your navigation on your phone without the internet!

“a ship in harbor is safe but that is not what ships are built for”

Go offline!

“Google to the rescue” also applies here. Google Maps has a handy offline mode on its App. It allows you to select a certain area, which you want to cross, and download it for when you don’t have internet access. This download stays on your app for 30 days by default and then disappears into the big internet trash can. Once you download your area and go offline, your navigation will work just like you are used to with the internet. The GPS on your mobile doesn’t need the internet so: great! Maps neatly navigates you to the front door of your destination.

How to download in Google Maps?

  1. Download the Google Maps app and open it
  2. Click on the dropdown menu at the top left and select “offline maps”
  3. Click on “custom map” (or a map you no longer need)
  4. Select the area you want and click on download [note: the smaller the area, the more detailed the download becomes].
  5. Done! You’re using Google Maps offline now

Other options?

Yes. Nowadays there are several apps that can give you offline navigation on your phone. One of the better known alternatives is “Maps.Me”. Just try it out and see which one you find more convenient. Another option is to just buy a local SIM card anyway. But even then I still often download the offline maps. The moment you suddenly have no internet anymore due to a malfunction, or the internet is very scarce because you are wandering somewhere deep in a remote area off the beaten track… it’s nice that you can still navigate back to your accommodation.

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