Maps.me could have made my life easier when I found myself lost in a bad part of Santiago. Ahh well, that experience is far behind me now, like 2 months ago, if you can believe it (I hardly can). And, I have also been using maps.me to help me get around parts unknown for awhile now.
Maps.me, if you don’t already know, is a mapping app, much like Google maps, but unlike Google Maps, it has a great offline feature. Using some unexplainable magic, the app pings nearby cell towers to establish your position and provide you with maps of the area. You do have to download an area map prior to use, which requires a wifi connection, so if you are planning a future trip, then I suggest searching for the new location, such as a city, where you will be prompted to download an area map if you do not already have it.
Once downloaded, I use Maps.me in conjunction with one of my online Travel Guides to make the map more interactive.
What I do is find a site I am interested in, a museum, or restaurant, or other local attraction, and once I find that location I bookmark that location by placing a colored star on it.
I then click “Edit this bookmark” and copy relevant details from the travel book for that location. This way I don’t have to flip back and forth from the travel guide to the location, the starred location already has the detail in one place.
On those long bus rides from city to city this is what I do to prepare and preplan what I want to visit once I arrive.
Typically, the first thing I do will be to locate the bus terminal, and the hostel I will need to travel to. This helps me figure out if I can either walk there, or if it is better to take a taxi.
From there, I add museums, restaurants and other local sites.
I use Kindle versions of travel guides such as Lonely Planet, and copy and paste their descriptions onto the starred locations.
Now, what I basically have is a localized map with detailed descriptions. It’s really helpful to have in this format, and I wish there was a service that already does this. Lonely Planet, if you are listening, can you team up with Maps.me – okaygreatthxbye!
Overall Route planning
I also pre-plan my big destinations by starring the major cities I plan on traveling to by bus. If I do not have a map for that portion of the globe I get a prompt to download the location from Maps.me.
But once I land, the once empty map starts to take on colored stars as I add places I either want to visit, or have visited:
Giving certain colors to certain landmarks makes finding them so much easier. You can use Red for major landmarks, for example, green for restaurants, blue for museums – whatever makes sense to you. All of sudden, your map is customized to your travels. You can not only add travel guiedbook information – you can travel notes, memories of the place, what you’ve experienced – whatever comes to mind. All of a sudden the map becomes not just a tool for orientating – it becomes a way to memorialize your travels.
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