Offline Google Maps hack lets travellers get directions with no signal or Wi-Fi

Many of us have ended lost in a foreign country before whether because the GPS system doesn’t work or your phone loses signal. While in the UK you might try and use road signs and landmarks to guide you it’s difficult when you’re in an unfamiliar place that speaks another language.

Google Maps is generally where most holidaymakers head when they need to get somewhere. The handy site – and app – shows you exactly how to get to your destination quickly and easily.

It will even tell you where and how to catch the required public transport you need. Although, if you’re in a big town we’d suggest using city mapper for this.

READ MORE: Google holiday hack finds you cheap flights from £11 to France, Italy and Greece

Unfortunately, Brits can be left in the lurch if their phone signal or roaming data stops working. If you can’t load a map then you might get lost – and asking for directions can be tricky if there’s nobody around who speaks English.

Thankfully, it seems the boffins over at Google have figured out that we sometimes need a backup plan to get around. It recently demonstrated how you can download a GoogleMaps city map that’s fully useable even when you’re offline with no signal.

The Instagram account, @googlemaps, said: “Wanderlust, not wanderLOST”. It then showed a group of young women running through the streets of Europe.

One of the women held up her phone and went onto Google Maps. She pulled up a map of the city she was visiting – Marghera in Venice, Italy, – and looked at the options below the city name.

Some of the tools allow you to place flags in the map to remind you of favourite locations. While others let you share the map with your friends.

However, one often overlooked tag lets you download the city as an “offline map”. It’s easy to do and only takes a few seconds when you have Wi-Fi.

Then, once the map has been downloaded you’ll be able to use Google Maps for the city of your choice even when you’re offline. Just search your destination as normal and even without any service or Wi-Fi you’ll be able to get directions. Genius!

You can download multiple maps to store on your device – personally we’ve just downloaded London which took about two minutes – and have them to use whenever you want. You should be aware though that downloading maps does use up your phones storage.

A map of London took up about 250MB of space on an iPhone. While smaller cities use up less storage – like Goreme, in Turkey, which was just 15MB.

Thankfully, you won’t wipe out your phones storage by downloading a map of each city you travel to as the downloads are eventually deleted automatically after a certain amount of time has passed.

Of course, if you want to ensure that you’re never left without a map you’ll have to ensure you have access to power or a power bank for your phone. Alternatively, you could always grab a paper map…

The Google Maps trick isn't the only one that can be helpful when it comes to travel. We discovered a nifty Google Flights hack that let us find cheap journeys from just £11 to fab destinations like France, Spain and Italy.

Our very own reporter used the hack to find a £12 flight to Porto, Portugal with Wizz Air. She went on to visit the most beautiful McDonald's in the world.


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