Going somewhere new on holiday can be an exciting prospect but the thought of being lost in an unknown city, with limited access to the internet, can be daunting to many of us.
To help ease your mind we have come up with a list of five useful map applications that might make your journeys while abroad that little bit smoother.
If you are lucky enough to have mobile data on your phone at no extra cost when you go aboard, then a great way of planning routes around big cities is Citymapper. The app uses your geo-location and should automatically pick up which city you are in. Once downloaded, all you have to do is type in your required destination and the app will tell you all kinds of helpful information. This includes exactly how long it takes to get there, what route to take, how much it will cost in an uber, when the next bus is and even what section of the train to sit in for a speedy exit. The app is also helpful when you are meeting someone at a location, as you can give them an accurate estimated time of arrival. Although the app automatically uses your current location to plan the route this can be changed easily to help plan routes for later in the day.
If you do not have access to mobile data, then there are a variety of other map apps that work without a network connection. An example of one such app is maps.me. Before your holiday, simply download the section of the map you are travelling to (this will require an internet connection) and then you can use it at any time.
One additional feature of maps.me is the ability to pin destinations to the map. If you have heard about a particular set of beaches that you want to remember, for example, then you can pin them to the map and plan your holiday accordingly to visit each one.
Maps.me also gives you an idea of what other people have found interesting in the section of the map you download. For example, it will tell you where coral reefs are that you can snorkel around, or where the best sunset viewpoints are. It is worth noting, however, maps.me will not tell you how to get to a destination using public transport, so you will need to have your own method of transportation.
It might seem strange to plan a holiday based on photos but in a world that revolves around social media, photos shared by others online is a great way to discover new spots that are off the beaten track and you might otherwise have missed.
Trover, for example, is an app powered by photographs taken by a community of users across the globe. All the photos are geotagged meaning you can search the location you are going to and get some inspiration about what activities might be fun to around the area. This might also give you some ideas about where your next holiday should be. If you don’t want to download a new app -if you don’t have a lot of storage on your phone for instance -then you can also do a similar thing by searching a location on Instagram. However, you have to have an idea of which location you want to search on Instagram, as you won’t be given a photos location automatically. Using photos to plan your holiday is also a great little tool to enhance your social media pics with beautiful destinations.
The nature of the modern world makes it hard to be away from the Internet for too long. If you don’t have a phone plan that supports international data roaming and don’t want to rack up a huge bill, then a wi-fi finder app is a nice addition to your phone. The app knows the nearest wi-fi spots to you from a database of wi-fi hotspots around the world. It will also provide you with the credentials you need to login to the network if it is protected by a password. The app community members also add and update where the best wi-fi hotspots are to help other users find the speediest and most reliable network available. On most wi-fi finder apps you can also access the map offline.
Just remember that when looking for public wi-fi, it is crucial that the network has a password. This is because if you connect to an unsecure, open wi-fi network, a hacker can easily read everything you send and steal your personal data and subject you to a man-in-the-middle attack.
If you are waiting to meet someone at the airport, then you might find it useful to download a flight tracker app that shows you a live map of the flight moving in the sky, such as FlightAware. Not only can this free app track any commercial flight worldwide but, in the US and Canada it also allows you to track general aviation, like private jets and charter flights.
You can also set the app up to get a notification of a completed flight to give you peace of mind that a friend or family member has landed safely. Usefully, it also shows you both parts of a journey if it includes a layover, meaning you don’t have to track two separate flights.
We hope this was useful and helps you decide if you want to download any map applications on your smartphone before your holiday. We also have some posts on similar topics such as:
- How to take the perfect passport photo
- How to prepare a phone for a holiday abroad
- How much data does social media and streaming apps use when roaming?