Everyone knows what Google Maps is and how to use it, that’s not what this article is about. However, there are many reasons that you should rely even more on Google Maps when you are traveling as the application thinks of many things that you don’t and makes so many things that are difficult while traveling incredibly easy. Below we offer our top tips on using Google while abroad.
One of the best things about Google is the ability to save locations. You can save your hotel and other important places when you are traveling. A lot of people don’t use this feature enough. It is so important when you are in a country where the number one language is not your own. I was once in China and was able to show my hotel (already saved) on my map to any taxi, it made getting around very easy.
One of the biggest problems when traveling is that you think you can rely on maps but then your data goes. Google has a solution in place. You can download offline maps for entire cities if you want. Google allows you to save up to 1.7GB off offline map data meaning you can save quite a lot of information. Just remember to delete the map once you leave the city as it does take up space and you will likely forget about it and never use it again.
Street-view is something we are all familiar with on Google Maps. It allows you to see the picture view on roads instead of just a map. While everyone knows what it is, it is worth highlighting for travelers. I was once traveling and used Google Maps to find my hostel. I reached the destination but could not see any hostel. I switched to street-view and was able to see that my hostel was on the second floor. There was only a tiny sign on the side of a door that revealed it was the location I needed.
A lot of people don’t like the idea of Google tracking their location and watching what they are doing. Personally, I love it. I know my life is not that interesting so if they want to track me, go for it, as long as I get some benefit. Being able to review the locations around the world that you have been to, using Google Maps, is a neat addition.
One of the fantastic things about Google Maps that many people are unaware of is how it accounts for hidden dangers. There have been reports of tourists accidentally going through dangerous gang territories in some countries because they got lost on their way from A to B. Google Maps thinks of this. If you try to go from A to B in Rio De Janeiro for example, Google will avoid any favelas that are known to be dangerous, even if they offer the shortest route. This little add on is a small tweak from Google but a huge help to tourists in the area.
Google Maps also has the usual driving directions. You can use this while on holiday to see how much the potential shared car service will cost as well. One thing that is great about this is that it often highlights competing apps that are cheaper than Uber and that you are likely unaware of. While traveling through Brasil I found that no one actually used Uber, they all used 99. It was Google Maps that was the first to show me that it existed.
In my opinion, Google Maps is the most important application for any traveler. While you may want to go the road less traveled and forge your own path, having Google by your side means that the path you choose to forge is almost always guaranteed to be the right one.