We all know Google maps is a great tool to help us find businesses, distances, traffic problems and travel time. It is the most popular and reliable mapping/navigation tool. However, it does consume a lot of your data when you are using it to navigate. It can get very expensive if you are abroad and roaming on your cell phone. The good news is that you can download maps in advance and they can be stored offline on your cell phone or tablet.
I highly recommend to everyone to think about their destination(s) and start downloading the maps while still home connected to a high-speed Internet. Another thing to notice is that Google started to talk about setting a 30-day expiry date for offline maps. I would recommend that you download the maps a week before your departure to be safe.
The area that can be downloaded can be very large. I recommend that you check if you have enough storage space on your phone.
Also, Google maps offline will not have all features that Google Maps has to offer. However, they are constantly adding features to the offline maps.
I will assume you are connected to the internet and signed in to Google maps.
Steps on how to download maps:
1. Open the Google Maps app and find the city or location you want to have offline.
If you are travelling to multiple cities, you can download each city individually. It will help you getting organized.
2. Hit “Download”
If you don’t see “Download”, either tap at the bottom of the screen or click and hold anywhere on the screen and check the menu at the bottom of the page.
Zooming in will decrease the amount of storage data used. Zooming in will also save more details of the map. More details will make you find your route and destinations easier. Feel free to breakdown the maps into multiple maps I.e. cities as suggested above.
Select the size of the area that you would like to download and click on the“Download” button in the bottom left corner.
3. Save the places you are planning to visit.
It will make easier for you to locate them later. I used “Coca-cola London Eye”, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Churchill War Rooms in my examples.
Search for the location you would like to visit I.e. Coca-cola London Eye.
Click on the name of the place at the bottom of the screen where you see the name.
Click on Save as “Want to go” place.
Remember to save your hotel, meet up places, restaurants, closest hospital and others.
All your places will be marked on the map with a little flag.
Testing and accessing your Maps offline
After the download is done, close your Google Maps, change your phone to airplane mode and disconnect from the wi-fi.
Open Google maps.
Expand the left menu by clicking on the hamburger menu (three vertically stacked bars).
Click on “Offline maps” on the left side. Click on anyone to open it.
Deleting your saved places
Open google maps and access the left menu using the hamburger menu icon.
Click on Your Places->saved.
Locate the list you saved them I.e. “Want to go”. Click on the three dots and edit list.
Click on the “x” icon to remove from the list.
You will be able to navigate and get driving directions, but no transit information or bicycling or walking directions. It won’t contain alternative routes or lane guidance.
Good luck and happy travelling!