Whether you are walking the mysterious alleyways of Amsterdam, hiking in the backcountry of New Hampshire, or just looking for an ATM in your hometown, there is one App you probably never heard of that can solve all these problems. And that app is Maps.Me. I’m not being promoted to talk about this app, but I truly believe it is the best app that any traveler could have on their phone. Maps.Me is the most detailed map that you will ever have in your pocket, and I’ve personally used it exploring cities in over 6 countries, on top of mountains, and even in my state’s local parks. Yet, so easy to use that I even got my parents to use it while they took a trip to Venice, Italy.
Alright Zach, what’s so special about this app when I already have Google Maps and if I’m travel in another country I can’t use the data for it anyway?
Maps.Me works as an offline map, so you download the country or region you’re going to while on Wifi before your trip or at a coffee shop on your trip. Then you have access to the most detailed map you’ve ever seen. I’m not only talking about turn by turn directions through a city, but locations of public bathrooms, ATMs, trashcans, park benches, and pretty much every hiking trail ever walked upon. You won’t find that level of detail on any standard map application without downloading one for each of the items I just listed. Don’t believe me? There’s an app for hiking trails in the states, another for bathrooms in NYC, one to find your nearest ATM, and the list goes on and on. You can eliminated all of that with just this one.
Ok, now you have my attention. But is it really that easy to use?
Yes it is! Simply click on the location you want to go to, or find it via the search button, and click on the bottom button that says “Route To”. The app will calculate the best route via driving, biking, walking, or even hail an Uber (if connected to internet). It’s as simple as that. To further my point, this app got my parents through the alleyways, canals, and streets of Venice without ever getting lost a single time. I’ve put my destination to the top of mountains in Germany, Austria, New Hampshire, and Vermont and it’s shown me the exact trail system I’d need to reach the summit. Obviously I don’t use it often for hiking, but it came incredibly handy when my friends and I tried to climb the Zugspitze in Germany. The trail wasn’t marked and many of the trails veered off from the summit without any warning.
Hmm, that’s pretty nice, but what else can it do?
Well, it has most of the same features you’d expect from a popular navigation App. You can put a pin in any location or attraction you want to check out, simply hit route to, and boom you on your way. You can even send that all your favorite/bookmarked locations to someone via email and they can have all “your places” locations to use on their trip. It’s an open source platform, so you can even add names of locations to the map like your favorite bars or that incredible lookout point you always go to for sunset.
Yes, you could use download regions/cities/places of interested from Google Maps to use them offline, but the file size of Google’s is tremendously bigger than Maps.Me. I used Google Maps offline for my trip to Iceland, and it was essential worthless other than to know if I was on the highway or not. I personally only use this for walking and biking, whether I’m in the USA or traveling. For driving in the USA, I obviously use Google Maps/Waze/etc because I can get traffic updates. But when my friends and I were driving through Costa Rica, Maps.Me was awesome even offline for driving navigation, and sometimes to a fault. It picked the shortest route, which turned out to only be accessible with a 4×4. Luckily we had a Toyota Corolla…
Needless to say Maps.Me has a special place in my phone and is surprisingly useful even in your own town, let alone around the globe while you’re traveling. Check it out before your next trip or even your next hike. Let me know how it goes!