My Google Maps Hack for Traveling | Travel Tips

This article was first featured on but due to some housekeeping it will now live here. Enjoy!

I didn’t know that my favorite travel trick is actually unknown to many people. While traveling and encountering troubled travelers I share my knowledge and lives are changed! Really, this is a major game changer when going to a new location, especially if abroad and you are without data. So keep reading to learn my favorite travel tip, my google maps hack.

I use my Google Maps offline! Yes, it is possible. You will never find me standing on a street corner with a paper map scratching my head, which street are we on? uh how do we get to our next stop? while giving out a bright signal that you are a tourist! Get the appearance of a local, and never get lost again, unless you want to, which can be equally as fun.

This trick pairs perfectly with last week’s article with how I plan my travel itinerary. Once you have planned all of your stops and they are starred on your map, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could view them while traveling? Well, you can. This is how…

Your hotel, hostel, wherever you are staying should have wifi, if not, stop in a coffee shop, or if necessary do this before you go to your destination. You need a smartphone to do this, and I only have experience with iPhones so I know that this works with them, and I imagine it is similar for Android, if not let me know in the comments.

Step One: Open Google Maps on your phone

google map travel hack

Easy! Done. Make sure you are logged into your account, the same one you starred the map of all of the places you want to see.

Step Two: Search your location and load the map.

google map travel hack

If you aren’t in your location then search it, and start zooming in as far as you want. I usually do it far enough that street names appear. Do this around the city, zooming in and out repeatedly so the map is fully “loaded”. Make sure to do this in all of the areas where your stars are. As you can see below, the first image is not zoomed in very far, while you can see streets you cannot see street names. If you don’t zoom in it will not load the names.

The second picture shows how close you have to be to show the street names. Do this and move the map around all of the areas you plan to be in. Zoom in as far as you want and zoom out a bit repeatedly to get the entire map to be available.

google map travel hackgoogle map travel hack

Step Three: Do not close the app!

Do not close the app. Yes, keep it open. Once you are in your location and without data or wifi open the app and you will see the map is loaded and stars are visible. Also, and most useful, the blue dot that shows where you are is visible, and correct! The GPS in your phone works even when you don’t have data so now you will never be scratching your head on a street corner desperately searching street names.

I hope that my Google Maps hack tip was simple and helpful. If you have any hacks that you use when traveling share them in the comments below.

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to follow along my travel adventures via Snapchat (lovexoadventure)


More about Helene

A girl with an incurable case of wanderlust, forever searching for the perfect bite of food and cup of coffee.

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