Welcome to your new best friend – the CityMaps2Go app. Download it. Don’t ask. Just do it. This probably is one of the MOST important pieces of advice I can give any traveller, particularly solo travellers as they explore the world. This app that was my saviour in too many places and ways to count.
What is it? An offline map that doesn’t use data (so no need to worry about those exorbitant roaming fees). You can star places you’re planning on hitting on – amazing for those of you who are organisers and like to plan each day of your trip. And best of all it SHOWS YOU WHERE YOU ARE!!! Just like the blue dot on google maps, this app will also place your current location on the map and has a little arrow (see: green arrow on the bottom right) so you can swivel around to see which direction you should be going. Unfortunately it can’t actually give you directions, but for offline map that can pin point your exact location without using data who cares! The first 5 maps you download are free and then after you need to buy the app ($7.99) to get access to unlimited number of maps. For unlimited number of maps this was an easy choice.
How to use it? Before each trip, while you still have wifi, download the map of the city you are going to. Click the top left hand corner and then press download maps and just type in the name of the city you are going to and then download! The app has most cities and provinces though finding more rural areas might be a bit difficult. Once the map is downloaded just start ‘starring’ places you want to see, you can usually search on the map for most things however if it doesn’t have it fear not. Just find it on google and then manually star it on the map itself. To manually star, on the map where you want to ‘drop your pin’ just hold down on the touch screen and a star will pop up and then you can name and write all the details in. I found this most handy, I personally liked to write in the details the opening times of the attractions and places I was visiting for reference. Also handy, the maps (in big cities) have the train stations and metro / subway stops so you can easily find the train station you’re closest to or the station nearest to the attraction you want to visit. Mind you this app is not a fail safe method to keeping you from getting lost but it sure does do an awesome job at trying. So start starring away! and welcome to a very less confusing world of travel!