The vast majority of us continue to bring maps and guides when we travel, but we still miss not being able to look things up on the Internet. Unfortunately, roaming fares abroad are still very high. And then we find ourselves struggling with questions like these:
- “How do we reach that monument? I can't find it on the map”
- “Is this restaurant good enough?”
- “What else can we do in this part of the city?”
I bet you've had similar experiences, too.
A few weeks ago, I spent a couple of days travelling around Rome. Unfortunately, I didn't have time beforehand to organise anything at all. But I discovered some tricks that, literally, saved my trip from being a total disaster.
So you know, I am the kind of person that likes wandering, discovering secret spots and feeling like a local whilst travelling. Besides, I try to do as much as I can, and I like checking out restaurants before I go into them. A good local restaurant can make my day, while a touristic one can ruin it.
If you are like me, then keep reading to find out how easy it can now be to travel without the Internet and still have all its advantages.
How do I get to…?
As a tourist, our goal is to go from one place to another – to sightsee and explore. Sometimes, maps are tough to read, are not specific enough or are simply out-of-date. Everyone would think of typing their destination into Google Maps, and voilà! But without the Internet that's not possible, right?
Well that has changed! Google Maps has now developed a function which lets you download an area using wifi and then search on it without accessing the Internet. You don't need too many MB on your mobile, and you can always delete the cities if you no longer need them. Before now, only routes by car were available offline, but of course it is also helpful to know how to walk from one place to another. GPS also works offline if you find yourself in the situation where you are really lost in the city.
What's even more amazing is that you can zoom in on the maps and find everything from restaurants to sightseeing spots. Once you click on them, you can find a description (if given), telephone number, address and timetables.
What to see? Where to eat?
In addition to Google Maps, I am a huge fan of TripAdvisor. I really like reading what other people think of a place, whether it's a restaurant or a sightseeing attraction, so I can get an idea if it is worth a visit.
Until recently, I have always looked for restaurants tips on TripAdvisor before the trip or at night in the hotel. But there's also been an improvement here with offline availability. With the TripAdvisor app, you can now download complete city guides so you can also see them offline (with or without pictures). A map with all the things to do around you is available too. Isn't that fantastic?
Two apps, one goal
Both applications may seem similar, but the truth is that the two complement each other. At least, both of them really helped me to have some great times during my trip to Rome. I hope that they can also help you with your travels all over the world as well.
And now, from one travelling fan to another, do you know other useful travel apps? Any tricks other travellers should know for sure? Write me an email and share them with me!