Carrying Offline Maps for Overseas Travel

Maps.me is a must have app for any traveler! Hubby and I were planning for a month long trip to Japan and South Korea at the end of the year. Knowing him, it'd be up to me to plan the whole month itineraries. I started around June and I finished the draft in about one month time. Now that we're counting down to our trip, it's time to sharpen the schedules and details of our itineraries.

I set up my daily itineraries using Google Maps which was really fun and easy to do. The guide to do that can be seen here. The problem started when I had to add some places to the Jeju Island map in Google. There were some restaurants that weren't listed in Google Maps at all. At one point, the search for one address was resulted in two different locations. Lastly, Google Maps couldn't create any driving or walking route at Jeju Island.

After getting so frustrated,  I decided to download maps.me. Maps.me is a OpenStreetMap crowd-sourcing app where maps to different region can be downloaded offline to your phone. It has been around since 2011 but I only found out about it yesterday. It took me some time to get used to it and learning the meaning of each button. I downloaded the map to Japan, South Korea and Jeju. I even tried to use it offline (using flight mode) to set up walk route from point A to B and it worked! I was so excited, I never used such a detailed offline maps before.

Below guide is to import all of your daily itineraries from Google Maps to Maps.Me.

1. Sign in and open your Google Maps

First step is always to sign in into your Google account and find your way to Google Maps. This can be done by going to maps.google.com. After that, go to 'menu', 'your places' and click on the maps that you want to import to Maps.Me.

2. Open it in Maps

Once you click on the itinerary / place that you set up, click on 'Open in My Maps'. A new window will open up with the list of your itinerary that you can edit. Click on the menu button at the top (the three dots) and choose: 'Export to KML'.

3. Choose the layer that you want to download

This one is quite important. I have set up one layer as one day so what I did was downloading one day itinerary instead of downloading the full bulk of it. I need my map to stay in sequence and due to the length of travel it'd be easier for me to download one day itinerary. If you don't do it per layer then you will end up with a list of places in Maps.me.

4. E-mail and open up Maps.Me App

Send those layers that you want to yourself. Click on the attachment and click on 'import the layer to Maps.Me'. I moved my icon to the very front of the menu because I needed to import 20 layers. The icon was originally on the second page of the menu.

5. Connect to the Internet & download some maps!

One of the most important parts is to download some maps that you want to use beforehand. Just click on the menu (three bars) and click on 'Download Maps'. You can search for a country or a specific region.

6. Check your bookmarks and itineraries

I downloaded a manual from Maps.Me website because I didn't know how to access my saved bookmarks / itineraries. Turns out I had to click on the 'two stars icon' at the bottom of the page. From there I could access my daily itineraries and click on any places that I had listed. I put my phone on the flight mode so you can see that the Maps.Me app was working perfectly! Just click anywhere on the screen if you need to go out from the bookmarked place instead of accidentally deleting it (I did this twice).

Another thing to note: The places will still be in order when you import your maps to Maps.Me but it will start from the bottom instead of from the top.

7. Setting up the route

Setting up the route was a bit on a tricky side. I found out that I could go to the list of bookmarks, find the date that I need, click on the location and click on 'Route From' at the bottom of the page. The same way applies to 'Route To' too. The map will then route the driving / cycling / walking route for you with the information about distance and time. The example below was me trying to find the driving route from Monsant Cafe to Hello Kitty Island.

8. Search!

Another thing that I really like from Maps.Me is the ability to search for certain things such as WiFi, toilet, parking spot, police station and ATM!  To search, get out from your current screen by tapping anywhere on the screen until you see the search icon at the bottom left of the screen. Maps.Me will bring up a list of categories that you can choose from. This was very useful because we'll have half a day in Jeju Island that we can fill with some more sightseeing.

There you go, folks! I hope this guide will help you in planning the trip of your life (woohoo) or even an impulse weekend trip. Please let me know if you have any question or feedback!