Google Maps Adds Offline Directions & Why That Matters for the Modern Traveler


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google maps offline directions

Google Maps Offline Directions & Search: A Gamechanger

As most people who travel internationally know, a reliable internet connection is hardly guaranteed. Sometimes you are only visiting a foreign country for a short period and thus don’t want to get a local sim or sometimes the local connections are DIRT slow. Yes, T-Mobile’s free international data can help, but it isn’t always fast enough for GPS directions and searching.

Today Google announced an end to these issues. While they added the ability to download a basic map for offline use awhile ago, now they have released so much more. As of today you can download an area for offline use and receive turn by turn instructions and even search for local information and places. Here is how Google puts it:

Now you can download an area of the world to your phone, and the next time you find there’s no connectivity—whether it’s a country road or an underground parking garage—Google Maps will continue to work seamlessly. Whereas before you could simply view an area of the map offline, now you can get turn-by-turn driving directions, search for specific destinations, and find useful information about places, like hours of operation, contact information or ratings.

When Is This Available

Google announced that the updated version of Google Maps is rolling out to Android users in a staggered manner over the next few days. Since I will be in Panama this weekend and will be driving to the canal without a connection, I am hoping to get my update soon so I can try out this new feature in a real world scenario. If you use an iPhone, an iOS version is said to be on the way soon as well.


For many, this could be a really great way to complete the transition from a dedicated GPS. Now, even with a spotty or non-existent connection (whether at home or abroad), your phone can get you where you need to go. This is great news in my opinion and will be a feature that I can see myself using often. For a demonstration of how it will work, head over to the official announcement in the Google Blog.

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  1. Great find! I wonder if my update just an hour ago on my Nexus 6 was for this? It was labelled as an android security update but yeah either way this will be valuable. I’ve encountered situations where I was in sketchy reception and couldn’t get my map to function and wished I had something like this.

  2. Yippee! I had downloaded maps to use offline for our trip to Italy in September. We were able to use the GPS on our Android phones with turn by turn directions, walking through Venice and on public transit in Milan, on the offline map – data turned off, no wifi signal. Then they changed Google Maps so you couldn’t download offline anymore – or their instructions didn’t work in the newer version. Very glad it is back!

  3. The navigation seems kind of useless if one doesn’t have a phone with built in gps, correct?

    I recently bought a Garmin Glo to use with my Note 4. Looking forward to testing it out on my next trip.


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