I am often asked how I create offline Google maps and today I decided that it was time to reveal this travel trick because it is one of the most useful tools you can have in your pocket when traveling internationally. This trick can also be used in everyday life if you need to reduce the amount of mobile data you are consuming.
I download at least one offline map of our destination prior to departing for the destination. Sometimes I download multiple maps to ensure I have adequate coverage – I’ll cover this in detail in this post.
(1) Open Google Maps on your mobile device.
(2) Search for your destination.
(3) Tap the menu icon located to the left of your search text.
(4) Tap Offline maps.
(5) Tap Custom map.
(6) Using your fingers, position the map so that the area you want to download is within the blue box.
Zoom in/out on the map by pinching and spreading your fingers.
Protip: If you have a large area that you need to download, I recommend creating multiple offline maps using a medium-level zoom. Create your maps so that they slightly overlap to avoid any “gaps in coverage”.
Based on experience, the further the area is zoomed-out, the fewer details will be included in the download. As an example, a zoomed-out download will provide driving directions but possibly not walking directions (this scenario happened to me in Vancouver).
Maps use little space so, in my opinion, it is better to have too many offline maps than not enough.
(7) When your map is properly positioned, tap Download.
(8) Wait for the map to download.
Protip: Rename the map whilst it is downloading by tapping the pencil icon.
After the map has downloaded successfully, it will display in the Offline maps list with a generic name (i.e. “Map 1”).
(9) To update (refresh), delete, or rename the map, tap it in the Offline maps list.
After you have tapped the map, the “map details” page will display.
(10) To rename the map, tap the pencil icon.
(11) Enter the desired map name and tap Save.
(12) That’s it! You are done! There is nothing special you need to do to access your offline map(s). Simply use Google Maps as you normally would.
To see a list of your offline maps, follow steps 3 and 4.
Offline maps are available for 30 days, including the day you create the map. If you need/want to free up space on your mobile device by manually deleting the map, open Google Maps and follow steps 3 and 4 followed by step 9.