The Top Travel Apps: Five Things to Love About Google Maps
This is the third part in a series about the best apps to manage travel. Find the rest of the series HERE.
The last thing I want to do as a black female solo traveler is to get lost in a country with no resources to get me “home.” My go-to method of making sure I can bad-assedly go anywhere I want, while never getting lost, is Google Maps. What….? Google Maps? The same app that everyone uses at home? Yes that one. Use Google Maps abroad to save yourself time, effort, and mass confusion.
Integration with Google Trips: When traveling, this is my absolute favorite function of Google Maps. Within Google Trips you can save suggested locations in their “Things To Do” section under certain categories like Want to Go, Favorites and you can also make your own personalized lists. Once you save a location in Google Trips, it will show up as saved on Google Maps, and be visible every time your map is opened to that region. You can even see a list of saved locations within Google Maps if you want another way to see the places you wanted to go. Y’all, I can’t even explain what a trip-saver this is. I walk a lot when I’m traveling, so I always have Google Maps in hand. Frequently, I’ll look at the map and see a place I’ve saved is only a few blocks away from my current location. Instead of making another special trip to see this location, I can just reroute myself to see it in that moment, and save time for another tourist trap later on in the trip.
Offline access: You’ve heard this from me before, huh. Trust me, offline access is key in foreign locales. Even if your cellular plan has foreign coverage, you never know when your service is going to be janky and leave you staring at your phone for 3 minutes waiting for one page to load. (I’m looking at you T-Mobile)
Transit Maps: I feel like a F*cking rockstar, the first time I figure out how to take a subway in a new country. Getting past any language barrier, currency confusion, and general lack of knowledge of the neighborhoods, makes me feel like I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. The transit information in Google Maps is my sherpa in this situation. Get on at X, transfer at Y, get off at Z. Sure, I could have figure this out by staring at a map for a while, but this series is all about making your travel life easier, and when trying to use a new transit system, trust me, take all the help you can get. (Note: Apple Maps has Google slightly beat on this point, because Apple Maps will tell you which subway exit to take to get to your destination. I love that feature, but the other features of Google Maps give it the win over Apple overall.)
Available everywhere: Okay, everywhere might be a stretch - but 220 countries and territories - yeah, that’s gonna be enough for most travelers.
Real time traffic info and ETAs: What time do I need to leave to get to the airport two hours before my flight? Google Maps has never let me down. You can imagine how important this is when you’re in a foreign country and don’t know the traffic patterns and rush hour.
Yeah, I know, Google Maps is extra basic - but if you’re not using it to it’s full capacity while traveling, aren’t you really the basic one? ;)
Also in this series: