Many of us use our cellphones for mapping, exploring and generally finding our way around. But there are times when you can’t or won’t be able to rely on your cellular connection for pulling up instant GPS directions. In certain situations, you’ll want to plan ahead and download maps for offline use.

Before you leave home, you’ll want to open your maps-app of choice, and load up the region that you plan on travelling to. Your app will have the ability to pre-download all the mapping info for that territory, while you are on your Wi-Fi or connected to regular cellular signal. Later, while travelling, your GPS directions will work using the data stored on your phone.

Apple has instructions for their Maps app, under iOS, here. And if you are using Google Maps, check out this article.

There are a variety of reasons you might want to proactively download your maps in this way:

  • You are going to travel through a region with poor cellular signal.
  • Your cellular plan has a very low data allowance and you are trying to avoid going over and incurring fees.
  • Your trip is taking you through a country where your plan may not allow you data usage.