Travelling around a continent that you’re not familiar with can be a wonderful but daunting experience. Everyone’s bound to get lost once in a while and end up somewhere that they weren’t supposed to, it’s all part of the fun. But no one wants to lost to the point of panic and can’t actually find your destination, especially if you’re by yourself. So here are a few navigation apps (I haven’t included Google Maps because that’s a pretty obvious one) that will help you, erm, not get lost!

1. MAPS.ME

This app WILL be your best friend. It doesn’t need to be online in order for you to find new places and navigate your way around . Over a couple of years I’ve done my little personal survey and found out that people who haven’t been backpacking have never heard of this app whereas near enough every person I’ve asked who has been backpacking usually responds with ‘Oh my god yes!”

MAPS.ME logo

This app is very useful for travellers who don’t have a sim card and only use WiFi. Whether you’re trying to go on an adventurous excursion or venturing out for dinner where there;s no WiFi, MAPS.ME allows you to see where you are, what surrounds you and shows you how to get places.

Follow 4 simple steps:

1.       Download the area of the map you want to access (The only time you’ll need WiFi is to do this).

2.      Search for the destination you want to go to.

3.      The app will calculate and show you the exact route of how to get to your destination.

4.       Choose your mode of transport: walking, car, train or bike. The app will then tell you how long your journey is going to take you.

MAPS.ME- inside the app.

The app offers alternative routes and you can take and it allows you to pin point places so you can save them for later. Having a GPS navigating app that works perfectly well will honestly save your life while travelling Asia!

2. KOMOOT

So Komoot is intended more for the gym goers and super fit people who are into their fitness!  Woo yeah! (Don’t worry, that’s not me either). This app is essentially an advanced route planner, it transforms your phone into a Sat Nav with voice commands

Komoot- inside the app.

The app uses GPS so it can provide and plan a safe route for you to take, one of the coolest features is that it records your tours so you can go back and reminisce at a later date. You can also create a profile (optional) so you can record how much exercise you’ve done and share it with friends. The app is straight froward to use, just follow these steps to get you started:

1.       Click on the tab ‘plan’ and search the destination you want to go to.

2.      Select your fitness level (Couch Potato, like me)

3.      Click ‘Start Navigation’

4.     Listen to the vocal navigating commands and… good luck!

The app also offers bicycle routes or hiking routes so you can switch it up a bit!

3. WAZE

Waze is a very aesthetically pleasing app, it’s got this cute 3D look to it that makes it look super modern and high tech. The app is strategic as it alerts you when the best time to start your journey is in order to avoid traffic. It’s main purpose is to enable you to get to a destination the quickest way, it has live traffic updates and  so there are no unexpected surprises.

WAZE logo.

1.       Type in where you want to go.

2.      The app works out your quickest route and how many miles away it is.

3.      You can view different routes, see the overview of your route or send an ETA to anyone who’s expecting you!

4.     Click ‘Go Now’ and listen to the voice commands to reach your destination.

WAZE- inside the app.

 

The Digital Impact of Navigation Apps:

It’s very rare that you see anyone walking a long the street using a map nowadays, people are normally on their phone looking at their smart phone, bumping into things, or people. Heads down, just following where their navigation app is taking them.

According to a poll in 2007, 20% of Americans couldn’t locate the United States when looking at a map of the world, I mean, you’d think everyone would know where the 3rd biggest country in the world is, or at least give it their best guess. Digital technology is altering travel habits as people don’t need to lug  a huge paper map around with them everywhere they go, they can simple download maps onto their phone in a matter on seconds and they’re sorted! Unlucky for map makers but beneficial for everyone with a smartphone!

 

“They’re more than just a backup when your smartphone dies” – Jordan Hale, Motherboard

 

In the future, paper maps may be extinct. There have been arguments saying that the paper map will always be needed as it is a guaranteed backup if your smart phone, tablet etc. runs out of battery.

 

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/4x3ewn/why-are-paper-maps-still-a-thing

http://www.dcsplus.net/hubfs/PDF/Resources/How-mobile-apps-are-changing-travel-habits.pdf