I'm getting ready to order some plug adapters and what not from the RS store and wonder if I should purchase the streetwise maps of the major cities where we have free time? Amsterdam (because we'll be there a week), Paris, and maybe Rome? I've downloaded the Trip Advisor app and some other map apps and wonder if those are enough? What would you advise?
I do both still. Generally I will have bought a city guide book and it will have a small city map and I'll usually take it. Last year when we went to Italy, I used my City Maps 2 Go app (which I LOVE) when in Rome and it came in handy as if we were a touch lost, we could take out the iPad and see right where we were - which on a map - you may not know which street you are on right away. I was a little leery a few times about having my iPad out tho. I am honestly not sure if we even used the paper map in Rome as we just used the app. Also very handy in Venice...
I find the iPad mini is great for maps, but before that I tried using a map app on my iPod and it was just too small to be able to see the 'big picture' of where we were and where we wanted to be heading, so in that case, the paper map was much more useful to gauge distances. So depending on what you will be using to look at the map (a phone or a tablet) you may find the paper map better. And really, paper maps don't weigh too much or take up much room in a bag.
I take the Streetwise maps as well. I like that they are laminated and hold up if it's raining. You can also mark the location of your hotel with a waterbased marker then "erase" for your next trip.
I would definitely get the Paris and Amsterdam ones. For Rome I would just use the one the hotel can give you. They have a pad of maps at the desk usually. I have not used iPad maps...yet lol!!
One thing I wished I had done was take the bigger Europe planning map. Dimitri, my guide, marked our driving route on the maps for those who wished. Very cool souvenir.
Technology is great when it works as it should. But it doesn't always do that. Experience with maps in guide books on e-readers has been bad -- very hard to read and orient. The only time we've gotten lost in Europe was when we relied on the GPS device a friend had. Give me a paper map any day of the week.
I take the Streetwise Laminated maps. They work well in wet weather and don't fall apart after being folded a more than 5 times. I like a real map since it gives me the big picture of where I am, how close are the places I want to see to each other and to me, and the best routes to get them. And, of course, it shows where the transit stops are.
I do use my phone and City Maps 2 Go from time to time also. Usually, it's when I can't figure out where I am and can't find the intersection I am at on the Streetwise map. Sometimes, one is just to far from where one expects he/she should be!
Me too - I keep my paper map in my pocket and pull it out constantly. I mark out my routes for the day to cover my main site goals and can quickly orient myself within the confines of the map. I'd hate to be doing that with my phone - I've tried it and I find it harder.
Despite having maps inside RS guidebooks and having my handy iPhone with its own map feature, the map I end up using the most is the map from the hotel front desk. These are usually large maps (approx 11x17 or thereabouts), matte or glossy paper, bordered with various ads, and have all the tourist sites highlighted. I fold them up and stuff them in my pants or jacket pocket. If lose them or they become to beat up to use, I'll grab another from the front desk. However, the one thing the map on my phone does though, that no paper map could ever do, is provide GPS, so if I'm truly lost with no street signs in site, I can use my phone's map to tell me exactly where I am and go from there.
Thanks to all of you for the responses. I know how using my phone is for maps so had intended to take my tablet but will order some maps to take too. I really like the idea of planning the daily routes out and then erasing for the next day on a laminated map. I have downloaded the Citymaps2go and free wifi finder so will have that in addition to the TA app.
Are there other travel apps out there that you love and feel like you have to have?
Nance - the nice thing about city maps 2 go app (maybe you know this) is that you only have to connect up to wifi once when you arrive in the city, then it'll keep track of you with no wifi needed (this goes for each city of course).
I also loved the paper maps from our accoms...but one great thing about the map app is I would go on before travelling and 'star' all the places we wanted to see...whether a site, a restaurant (gelato places!) or a store I had read about (you should see my current NY map - it has just as many dessert and pizza places starred as sights...lol. And my Paris map for this Oct is starred full of pastry shops). I finally got it down to yellow stars for food and blue stars for sights...that way, I wouldn't miss anything if I knew we were going to be in a certain neighbourhood. I also would star in red so it would really stand out where we were staying, and any meeting points for walking tours we might have been taking.
I actually find the Paris map on the city maps 2 go is great because a lot of the streets are even down to the house numbers on the street...not every single street, but some of them - made starring my airbnb accom super easy (the NY one isn't that exact, making restaurants a little harder to pin exact location).
Nicole - thanks so much for letting me know about needing to connect to wifi in each of the cities to use the map location- I didn't know that! Being able to star the places will be great. I did this huge map on google with all of the places I wanted to see and eat while in Amsterdam and had hoped to print it off so I wouldn't have to connect to it each time, but no, when downloaded the map was blank except for streets : ( So I'm very happy to hear that I can star and save places!!! I love gelato and pastries so am sure my maps will be full of stars!
I won't leave home without a map of the cities I'm going to visit, usually pre-marked with a few highlights. I prefer Streetwise laminates--very sturdy, nice size and includes trams and metros--but on my recent trip to Krakow and Warsaw I had to use paper. I don't buy for a day trip city, usually the TI or guidebook has one that will suffice. I hate fiddling with my phone in public and would find that for a map to be difficult to read, anyway.
Paper maps are the first thing we buy, besides a good guidebook, when we plan our trips. In our case, country maps are the most useful, especially for finding train routes. Steves maps are not the best for independent travelers as they leave quite a bit out.
One of the best train travel maps is Rail Map Europe. Another good source for country maps is International Travel Maps. Amazon has both. Sometimes we have gotten maps from a country's tourism office. City maps have been discussed by previous poster. We usually get those at the hotel desk or TI offices.
I find City-Maps-to-go to be perfect for wha ti need. The GPS part of it is great for knowing where you are and where you hope to go.
Remember to download the maps you need when you have WIFI connection and you are good to go.
I sometimes take country maps, but never bother packing city maps. Every hotel seems to have local maps available, and these usually have the hotels highlighted. Sometimes these are on a thick pad (like a notepad) and they just tear one off when a guest needs a map. If it gets worn out, I just ask for another one.
If I get lost, I usually have a GPS at hand.
It's reassuring to hear so many are still using paper maps. I brought Streetwise maps with me during my first trip to Europe in 2003. I still wound up using the guide book maps and hotel maps more.
I first used the city map app when we went to California in 2013. I had my San Fran, LA and San Diego maps downloaded and places marked. It wasn't until at the very end of the trip in San Diego that we were driving around the gaslamp district and I'm looking at the map app trying to find somewhere with parking when I realized that it was showing us in real time where we were. We had of course connected to wifi when at our airbnb, I just didn't realize that it worked with GPS and no wifi needed after the initial connecting. Ughhh - I don't know why I couldn't have noticed that at the start of our trip!
And it is great to star things - I am horribly forgetful on trips and when we were in Rome, I had read about this little shop near Piazza Navona that did soaps and whatnot made by monasteries in Italy. I had marked it on the map, but if I hadn't, I would have totally forgotten about it and wouldn't have gotten some lovely gifts to bring home.
I used the maps.me app on our recent trip to England and it was wonderful. I could zoom (or not) - and while we had a GPS in the car, the maps.me often provided either a better way or better information about places in the area while we were just walking around. I had it on my iPad for use in the car or hotel and on my phone for when I wasn't carrying the iPad. One feature that worked part of the time and not at others was the location finder using satellites, not data. I only tried it while driving but it came in really handy a couple of times.
I travel with my iPhone which has 2 online and 1 offline gps apps, a stand alone gps (Garmin), a tablet and my wife's Android phone so we have lots of back-up.
I also ALWAYS have paper maps and atlases.
If I need a quick answer, the paper map is always fastest.
If I need to know where I am I whip out the iPhone and ask Siri. Sometimes she knows.
Yes. (I take paper maps with me.) Even though I also use HERE maps on my Windows/Nokia phone. But I will always love and find useful paper (or laminated) maps.
Nope. I study online maps carefully at home, so when I get to my destination, maps on my phone make more sense. The size of a phone can make getting an overview difficult, so having a basic "mental map" before you get there helps immensely. Basically, knowing that your hotel is west of the cathedral, and the market is a few blocks southeast, and the major museum is across the river and to the north, etc.
When there, I use an offline app with GPS so I can see exactly where I am and follow my progress as I'm walking. I find this 100% easier than trying to orient on a paper map as I go. The main issue with it is that it is so easy that I sometimes miss the serendipity of getting lost! But I can just turn the phone off :) I also have non-GPS maps loaded on my phone, my husband's phone, and the kindle.
The exception is if I'm driving - then I buy detailed ones, Michelin or the like, in case the GPS doesn't work and I find myself lost in a foreign country. I don't worry about that in cities and towns, where I usually tend to travel. I'll have a business card from the hotel, and worst case scenario is I ask someone how to get there or find a taxi. I also make myself familiar with the subway system, if there is one. Then all I need to do is find a stop, and a map there will show me which line to take to get to the stop near my hotel, and from there there's no problem.
paper maps always work. I study them before trips, and always find information that I would not have noticed if searching on a device. Like KC, i find the ones they have at the hotels most handy for day to day use.
Yes, I love paper maps. And Streetwise, which I guess is technically paper, just laminated.
Paper maps are still a good back-up for the GPS, and they also give you a larger/wider view that you can't get from a GPS screen.
Michelin makes good maps for Europe.
There's a flip side to the idea that. paper maps always work. That is, yes they do...until they get lost or have water spilled on them or ripped. This is not to say that e-maps are better (tech fails too), but that nothing is infallible. I trust things I've saved in multiple places and can re-download more than paper, which I am prone to loose. Maybe I'm just absentminded.
Entertaingly, I love maps as art items and have several on my walls, framed. Beautiful, but practicality wins out on trips and on city trips with no driving, electronic is more practical for me.
Paper maps never run out of battery at the most inopportune time.
When it comes to trust, I always trust paper maps as they don't run on batteries, or signals. They will always guide you no matter what. When I visit any unfamiliar country or city, I buy the road maps. However, I own GPS and map apps on my mobile phone, but I feel relaxed to have a road map in my hand as I travel.
I use laminated Streetwise maps with great success. i guess i could probably just use the free tourist maps (or varying quality) that are available in various cities, but I like something that will hold up to rough treatment and that I can study before and after the trip, too. Travel planning is kind of a hobby and for $10 or so each, it give me a lot of satisfaction to have a library of good maps.
Pnd - I used citymaps2go for pre-planning before we left our apt./hotel, but used small paper maps while out and about. I had bought the RS laminated maps but only removed them from my bag to transfer them to a different pocket. The laminated maps were just to big and bulky.
No. I rely on the maps.me app on my iPhone, occasionally pulling out Google maps when I need to find an ATM. I also study maps and commit the major locations to memory before I leave home.
I rely on paper maps. I use downloaded apps too on my mobile but it is something you can't rely on as the device runs on batteries and network signals. Paper maps don't run on any of those.
I use both. Will always love paper maps but am becoming more and more reliant on my HERE maps from Nokia (doesn't require a data connection to use when out and about).
On our Ireland trip earlier this year I relied on the map in my Garmin GPS and Google Maps rather than paper maps. Since I have T-Mobile (mobile data is included in most of Europe) I plan to rely more on Google maps for our France/Germany trip in 2016.
When I left my Rick Steves guidebook in a hotel room I ended up buying a replacement on my Kindle rather than go without but I didn't feel the need to buy maps during the trip.