Getting around a new city is hard! When you check into a hotel, you are given a map, a few restaurants, and nearby attractions are pointed out to you and then you are expected to just go. Although I love wandering a city aimlessly, sometimes I have places I want to go and things I want to see and in a world filled with amazing technology, there is really no need to spend hours trying to follow a map.

I have plenty of experience getting lost. You could say I am a professional. I have learned from my mistakes and now I don’t get lost as often. It took me awhile, but I figured out the best and easiest ways for me to get around and it does not involve a map or at least a map in the traditional sense.

If you are anything like me and totally suck at directions,  or sick of getting lost constantly, you are in the right place!

Get that Data Working

If you are traveling to several countries, getting a sim in each one can be annoying to deal with. What if there was a way to get global data before leaving home? Well, lucky for you, there is!

 SkyRoam

SkyRoam is my absolute favorite! It makes getting global wifi super easy. You only pay for the days you want to use it and you can connect up to 5 devices. It also has USB ports so you can charge your phone. You have access to wifi in over 100 countries and up to 16 hours of wifi battery life. The best part, you don’t have to deal with contracts and sim cards. This is the perfect option if you are an avid traveler and/or traveling for a long time.

If you aren’t traveling for a long period of time or you are going to a couple of countries, then getting a SIM card in each one might be a better option. Usually, the airport will have stands that sell them or you can find them at mobile-phone shops, department stores, electronics stores, and newsstands. If you do decide on a SIM card make sure your phone is unlocked or it won’t work.

Map Your Route

If you have specific places in mind that you want to see, you need to map that route! I have my favorite and the only resource I use to help me with that.

My Maps: This is such a versatile tool that can be used for mapping out a day in a city or an entire trip. I use it for both. Before I go and explore whatever city I am visiting, I will make sure I map out what I want to do and how far each place is from each other.

Below is an example of how I would use it to map out places to eat, things to do and where to stay in each city. I live in Santa Monica so the example is pretty extreme. Your map probably won’t be as crazy as mine.

Take Advantage of Offline Maps

Offline maps are a godsend, especially if I am somewhere with very limited data or wifi. Here are a few of my favorite offline map apps. The days of getting lost because I have no wifi are behind me!

Google Maps: I know this is the obvious choice for most people, but a few years ago Google didn’t have offline map capabilities so yes, it’s added to the list! According to support.google.com, this is how to set up an offline map.

  1. Make sure you’re connected to the Internet and signed in to Google Maps.
  2. Search for a place, like San Francisco.
  3. At the bottom, tap the name or address of the place and then tap More More.
  4. Select Download offline map and then Download.

See? Easy Peasy!

Maps.me: This app is made for browsing offline maps and it’s the most popular app for that. All you have to do is search for whatever city you need a map for, and then download it and wallah! It will show you where you are on the map and you can route where you want to go.

Here We Go: This app uniquely allows you to download the map of an entire country! It also recommends the cheapest transport options and has voice navigation support.

There you have it! All the ways I utilize these map apps (ohh it rhymes)! Directions have always been difficult for me and before smartphones were a thing I would never have been able to travel alone.

So many people say to live in the moment and ditch technology, but when it comes down to it, technology is what allows me to be as independent as I am. It allows me to travel without giving my mother a heart attack and it keeps me safe so I don’t wander around bad areas.

How do you manage to get around? What apps do you use? or are you more of a paper map kind of person?

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Marika Devan
Marika Devan
At 19, I was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological condition called Ataxia. I decided that after my diagnosis I wasn’t going to sulk around and let my condition get the best of me. No way! So combined with my passion for travel and my love for helping people Clumsy Girl Travels was born! Here you will find Travel tips, itineraries, guides, inspiration, offbeat experiences and you will have to deal with my terrible jokes along the way. Sorry, not sorry. Whether you have limitations or not, I hope you will join me on my adventures around the world as I trip and fall from one country to the next.