Maps.me is THE name in FREE offline international navigation for backpackers. You can also use downloadable Google Maps, but they use more memory on your phone and typically take longer to download. Through some type of voodoo magic this app knows exactly where you are, what direction you’re facing (most of the time), and the quickest route (also, most of the time). It only works for walking or driving so no public transportation navigation help but holy nut balls does it work well. I walked in the middle of the night from the bus stop to my hostel in Kathmandu down nothing but backroads and the directions were spot on. You will find that some maps are more accurate than others, but either way you will find this app is a must. Don’t forget to download the map the day before moving locations while you have wifi so when you get off the bus/tram/train you won’t be scrambling for wifi to get directions. Also, remember to delete maps you are no longer using to free up some space on your phone.
YES! You can use these maps on airplane mode! That’s exactly what they are for.
To Download Maps…
just go to search bar in the app and type in the country. You will see a little download button in the bottom left hand corner (pictured bellow). Now this map will show in in the “Downloaded Maps” section. When you’re done with them, just slide them to left and press the delete button. I do have an Iphone so I’m hoping these instructions are the same for other users. If you need more help just comment below and I would love to reach out and help or create a tutorial video ❤
You can also click on this to watch a little tutorial on how to get started with the app.
#2 Whats App
WhatsApp quickly took over as the #1 FREE way to call, text, video call, voice message, and send pictures for free internationally. They ask you for your telephone number (does not matter if this number is active or not they only use it as more of a username).
When you want to connect with family member from back home you just have them download the app and put in your phone number. I use this app to call, text, and video chat with people from different countries at no cost to any of us. You only need wifi. This can also easily be done with Facebook Messenger. Personally I find this easier to use and nearly everyone I have met while traveling has it.
# 3 Netflix
If you already have a Netflix account (or use someone else’s) downloading this app and having pre-downloaded movies or tv episodes is great on long mind numbing trips. If you don’t already have an account then don’t go out of your way to buy it because you can use Youtube.
I should say that Netflix is different in every country but it has worked in 90% of the places I have traveled to. That’s the #1 reason I don’t have Amazon Prime. Most of the countries I have been will not allow you to access the videos/movies. HUGE bummer when you’re trying to get your Game Of Thrones binge on.
To Download Movies….
First, you can only download movies onto your mobile device. For some reason they don’t yet allow laptop or tablet downloads.
On your mobile Netflix App, tap the top left corner to get to the main menu. Just below “Home” is “Available for Download”. That will bring you video wonderland. Download any of those shows/movies for long plane rides and horrendous bus rides.
If you want to avoid having to pay for Netflix and don’t mind doing the extra searching to save a few bucks then you can easily find movies to download on Youtube. Below I’ve just typed in “movies 2017 full movies”. Probably half of them are either not movies or bad quality, but you can definitely find a few gems. Once you’ve found a movie and watched a few seconds of beginning, middle, and end of the video (to make sure they don’t cut you off half way and switch to an ad.. I hate that) then just hit download and it’ there whenever you’re ready.
If you’re more of a book junky and either don’t have a Kindle or hate carrying around pounds of books, then Audible is the app for you. Personally, I love audio books. I can listen to them when I’m packing, cleaning, in the shower and they make me feel like I’m getting a chance to flex my brain a bit. Not a must but highly recommended.
Nearly everyone you meet while traveling will have a Facebook. I know that some of you are probably wanting to get away from social media and travel with no attachments or connection to the “real world”… but in reality you will regret not staying
connected to these people. The people I meet are by far the number one reason I travel. If you do not stay in contact with them you are missing out! They are travelers and chances are that you will either want to travel to a place they have been, you will travel to where they are and can crash on their couch for free, OR they will be traveling to where you are. How awful would you feel if you missed out on that opportunity to rekindle a friendship with someone from the other side of the world. You should at least consider having Facebook just for the free couch surfing. So many of my friends across the world have told me about THEIR friends in the countries I visit and what I should I do or where I should visit. It has led to so many opportunities I would have missed other wise. Use social media to your advantage.