Map applications are extremely useful and can be the difference between getting somewhere on time relaxed and confident and showing up late, frazzled and highly stressed. Although you may be familiar with one or two map apps, there are a large number on the market – many free and some with a price – that can make your drive much easier and less confusing.
It’s always a good idea to start with the most popular app, and when it comes to map apps then Google Maps is certainly the king of the road. Google Maps is a powerful tool that lets you download maps for offline navigation or use it online when you have internet access or data on your phone. You can also use Google Maps online on your computer or tablet to plan out routes and how to get somewhere on foot, by transport or by bike. This is a highly useful tool with a ton of data built into it for many places all around the globe and the choice between street maps, terrain maps and satellite maps as well as updated warnings on traffic or other interruptions makes Google Maps one of the best on the market. Even better, it’s free.¹
Here WeGo maps is a free app that is steadily gaining a sterling reputation in the map app field. This app is actually a real alternative to Google Maps and has a user-friendly setup with maps for locations worldwide as well as an offline download option for if you want to use the app when you’re not hooked up to data or wifi. Here WeGo also gives you updates on traffic and other conditions in many areas where it has that data available and as an added plus it has a creator mode where you can actually input changes to maps for your particular needs and driving patterns.²
Waze is actually owned by Google and handles traffic info for Google Maps, but it is also a standalone, separate free app which is especially well-suited if you are doing driving and navigating inside cities. It also synchronizes for Google with info from cities and places to visit in them. Traffic from Waze is put in by other users and gives you extremely current info that can end up saving you massive amounts of driving since you can reroute around accidents, construction, traffic jams and other problems that otherwise would have you getting home or getting to work extremely late. Waze even tells you the places to get gas with the lowest prices, and is definitely one of the best map apps on the market.³
Maps.me is an excellent offline map app which you may not have heard of that is especially optimal for those who travel the world as it has a very large collection of maps of international locations that some other apps do not have. It has detailed directions, traffic and works fully offline once it is downloaded including with maps that have all the data about finding ATMs, restaurants, hotels and other important information you may need to know. It has online location sharing as well if you use the app online, although because it can be fully used offline it doesn’t drain your battery the way some other map apps can do.⁴
MapQuest is a great free map app that has built a solid reputation over the years for its helpful maps and directions. It also now has live traffic updates and gives you alternate route suggestions as well as a cheap gas finding option and help if you run into trouble with calling a tow truck. Keep in mind that MapQuest does have ads included in it.²