I’m on a deserted street in the middle of the night.
I’m somewhere outside of Rome, a couple blocks south (or north?) of a train station where I caught the last train in from the airport in an echoing station.
My hotel should be up here. Or maybe it was a couple blocks the other way. Or maybe I’m not even on the right street.
I squint in the blackness, trying to find street signs tacked on the sides of buildings. But no signs mark the small side streets. I walk down four more blocks to the large, blinding intersection and stand on a corner, frowning at the light poles, searching for a sign of where I am.
All I want to find is my hotel. All I want is to curl up in a soft bed and sleep away the remaining few hours of the night. All I want is a little blue blinking light of GPS to show me where I am and lead me to my hotel.
Here are the top nine apps for offline maps so you no longer have to wander in the night.
1. City Maps 2Go by Ulmon
I used this app a lot. It saved me many times. City specific offline maps which you need to download for each city. But the map shows public transit information like stations, points of interest, and bookmark favorite places.
2. Galileo Offline Maps
(Apple App Store, $3.99)
This app can record GPS movements and store for later retrieval. It gives you detailed offline maps of entire countries, records your trips, bookmarks favorite spots so you can return to them (or track your path). Claimed to be smaller download size and faster than other offline maps.
(Android Google Play, $5.99)
This app works totally offline. It gives you turn by turn guidance, highly detailed offline maps, bookmarks your favorite places, displays surrounding points of interest (my favorite). It also shows hiking and bike paths. And it’ll give you navigation for biking the crazy streets of Paris or walking in Venice’s alleys.
4. Pocket Earth
(Apple App Store, Free)
This app gives you detailed, small download size offline maps. Plus, you get public transit information and nearby points of interest.
5. Trip Advisor for specific city
This app is my husband’s favorite when we travel. He’s in charge of navigation and likes how this offline map shows points of interest, bookmark favorite places, and shows thousands of user reviews for locations. It can be a little glitchy at times.
6. Map app on your smart phone
I had no idea the GPS worked without my data enabled. But it does. And it saved me quite a lot. Sometimes the map doesn’t show up very detailed. But it helps to get a bird’s eye view on where you are and see if you’re really walking in the correct direction.
(Google Play, Free)
This app has offline maps that are best for navigating the land in hiking or boating. You can bookmark favorite places and record tracks via GPS. The coolest part is you can check out your speed and altitude.
Offline, highly-detailed maps for all countries and cities. This app claims to never freeze while zooming. You can also do searching on the map, bookmark favorite places, and figure out where you are with GPS positioning.
This is the premium offline map app. It calls itself the “world’s most downloaded offline navigation app.” This is the app you spring for when you’re feeling flush. It has offline maps for 100+ countries, free map updates, route planning, points of interest, and bookmarks. If you spring for the premium version, you get turn by turn navigation and voice guidance, with very handy warnings of upcoming speed limit changes.
Laura Lopuch blogs at Waiting To Be Read, where she riffs on reading, traveling, and gives you quotes to strengthen your soul.