App Chat: MAPS.ME

An article was recently published naming the top major tourist attractions with the most malicious Wi-Fi hotspots, emphasizing the growing dependence we have on staying connected even while vacationing. (Notre Dame was a close second. Can you guess which was número 1?)

As much as I'm into being more mindful and disconnecting, I'll admit it: we have it pretty good to be able to ask our phones where we should head for happy hour, and in an instant, share wherever we are so our friends can find us.

My recent trip to Paris was filled with scenic sights (And sounds!) of the City of Lights, but navigating the main boulevards definitely required some map time. Although the city boasts a number of hotspots for free WiFi, most were faulty or far from the nook we were exploring, and weren't about to spend tons of dinero for international data to turn on the GPS.

Luckily, my compañero had MAPS.ME downloaded onto his phone. A free app that works offline (¡Alegría!), displays an area by zooming in and out (sans annoying grey squares), and is so detailed you can drop a pin in just about any location.

Image via MAPS.ME

You can even locate where you are with GPS positioning and compass navigation.

Without using WiFi or data, you've got to download the map of the destination you're touring. (Ojo: This takes up space on your phone or tablet.) You can then search for places and spaces within that area. If you're going to create routes between destinations, you must download the specific routing files for all countries beforehand.

If you're venturing overseas without a local data plan, download MAPS.ME prior to your trip to give it a test run. (It's ok straying off the planned route to make room for some unexpected finds, too!)