What would you do if you traveled back in time, like waaay back, to the early 2000s and had to get around a new city without a smartphone?
Some times that's how it feels when I travel because I don't pay for data and have my phone in airplane mode the whole time. My service provider charges like $10 a day which adds up quickly with how long I travel. I don't get a sim card for each new country because I usually change countries every week or less. I just use the wi-fi at the place I'm staying or restaurants if I need to look something up or stay in touch with people using iMessage, What'sApp, e-mail, or Facebook Messenger.
With no international service Google Maps allows me to travel efficiently while discovering new cities. Here's how I use it!
Step 1 - Get Google Maps
You'll need to download Google Maps from the app store on your smartphone if you aren't already using it. You could try using your current map app but I haven't found others to be as good as Google's.
Step 2 - Find Locations That You Are Interested In
This is the easy part, you just go onto Google Maps and search for the place you want to visit.
Step 3 - Save The Location
Once you've found the place you'll want you click on 'save'. After you've done that the icon will change it's color to yellow and will say 'saved'. You can see this in the example below! Manny' Beach Club is a restaurant/hotel in Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco), Mexico.
*While doing these steps you can also make a destination list if you want to share that with a travel partner or even label a location like an airbnb if you only have an address.
Step 4 - Check To Make Sure It Saved
I'll then exit out of your search just make sure it is saved. It'll look like this!
Step 5- Fill Your Map
Add the rest of your destinations! I have been to Rocky Point a lot so I don't do this when I visit but I have an example of what my map from Kyoto, Japan looked like.
This is when my research of each city comes in handy as I try to have restaurants around the city or near landmarks since I don't know where I'll be or when I'll be hungry.
Step 6 - Download The Map
You can download the map for offline use to make life a lot easier. If you forget, it really isn't that big of a deal and will work fine. Worse case you'll need to connect to wi-fi for it to recognize your location if you changed cities. The only issue I've had was in Beijing, China. Google is blocked there so I used a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to pretend I was in America and got my map downloaded and it all worked fine.
Step 7- Navigate Freely
As you move around you can easily know which direction you are heading by whatever way the light is facing. Your saved locations come up as a star and you just need to head that way. On a rare occasion your map will get out of sync and the stars will go away. If this happens it's okay because the name of the place is still in yellow and you can find it easily. Here are some examples!
The whole process is extremely easy to do and is a game changer for me. It allows me to save hundreds of dollars and still navigate easily around new cities.
If you pay for international service or already have it this may not be necessary but I still like the idea of knowing what restaurants you might want to check out ahead of time and saving those.
*There is another service called map.me that you can download and use their map but I don't like it as much. They only have certain cities and is harder to get saved locations.
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HELLO AND WELCOME!
I'm Jake, a dude interested in personal finance and travel creating the life I choose.
In 5 years I went from living in a basement with Craigslist roommates to paying off 90k of debt, backpacking 3 continents, getting a house for myself and 5 rental units.
Read my story in the about me section.
All photos on the blog are from my travels
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