How To Use Google Maps In Foreign Cities Without Wi-Fi And Crazy-High Roaming Charges

Whenever we take a holiday, the destination is determined by the cheapest route possible from our origin.  That being said, I never do any planning or research prior to landing in a city.

Our favorite tool to navigate big cities is Google Maps, but typically we do not pay for a data plan when we get there.  How do we do it?  When we do have a Wi-Fi connection, we download a map of the city we are visiting, then we can open it from our smart phones even when we are offline.  The best part is that Google Maps tracks where you are even WITHOUT wi-fi so that there is a little grey “you are here” circle identifying where you are at all times.

If you don’t already have the Google Maps app, you should.

Once you open the app, type in the city you are visiting, like Madrid:

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See where it says “Madrid” to the left of the blue-colored “Route?”  Tap that.  Your next screen will look like this:

 

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Tap “Download.”

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You can move the blue box around to cover the areas that you want to.  You can also zoom in and out to cover less or more area.  The largest offline area you can cover is 120,000 square kilometers, but you can always save more than one map if the city you are visiting is really big.

After you tap “Download,” you’ll have to name your map.  I called mine “Madrid.”

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To access your map while out and about, open the Google Maps App, tap the Menu symbol, then tap “Offline Areas.”  Then you can tap on the name of the online area you saved your download as.

 

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