Who doesn’t love to travel the world? And who doesn’t hate the mobile phone bills that follow on the heels of a trip abroad? They can run as high as the plane ticket.
Having just returned from leading a two-week study-abroad class to Italy, I know the feeling. The benefit of mobile technology in an unfamiliar city is priceless, especially when you’re trying to find your way back to the hostel after a busy day of activities.
However, the cost of using data-roaming for a GPS system is prohibitive in Rome — or just about anywhere outside the U.S.
Luckily a friend alerted me to the value of the telephone app MapsWithMe.
The program costs $4.95 and allows the user to download maps of destination countries and cities onto multiple mobile devices. I put maps of Italy and Ireland on my mobile phone and my iPad.
This puts city maps in the user’s hands, off-line, without requiring data-roaming or Wi-Fi.
The street-by-street close-ups can help you find your way back to your hotel or hostel — or to that favorite eating place.
The program offers a number of amenities, including a free guidebook that can be referenced on the phone.
It also allows the user to bookmark points of attraction on the map in the phone with colored stickpins.
You can use different colored pins for different days on the itinerary.
MapsWithMe also allows the user to search for restaurants, mass transit points, hotels, ATMs, gas stations, even toilets, on the downloaded maps. These can be invaluable in a pinch.
Using MapsWithMe before traveling allows a person to become oriented to the destination before ever leaving home.
It’s well worth the price.