Never Lost Again: Using Offline Maps as Your Secret Weapon


In this age of ubiquitous connectivity, we’ve all grown used to having everything at our fingertips. Our grandparents and parents had to use paper maps before embarking on a weekend car trip or summer vacation, but many of us haven’t touched a paper map in decades, if ever.

Thanks to navigation apps like Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps, and others, it’s usually enough to just head out the door or hop in our cars, knowing that our smartphones will lead the way, even if we don’t independently know how to get there.

But here’s the thing: There’a a good chance that sooner or later you’ll find yourself in an area where the signal is weak or where it’s a complete dead zone. Poof – no internet, no navigation app.

To avoid unnecessary frustration and stress, assume that – no matter how reliable you think your connectivity will be – at some point you’ll have to find your way sans internet.

Thankfully the solution is simple: Download Google Maps offline ahead of time. Presto, peace of mind!

Here’s the basic overview:
1. While connected to the internet, open the Google Maps app.
2. Search for the location you want, for example New York City or Moab, Utah. 
3. At the bottom, tap the name or address, then tap More…
4. Next, tap Download Offline Map. 

The instructions vary slightly for an Android phone or tablet and an iPhone or iPad, which you can check out on Google’s website. Note that offline directions for walking, bicycling, or transit aren’t available.

Offline maps should be a staple in your preparedness toolkit so you’ll be ready, even when cell service crumbles and GPS goes dark.