Exploring Europe - How we get around without SIM cards, Travel Tips and Digital maps

Exploring Europe - How we get around without SIM cards,
Travel Tips and Digital maps

It can be very difficult learning to navigate in a foreign place - let alone trying your best to figure out their public transportation.  We really encourage the use of public transportation even if your unfamiliar with the local languages - we have some tips and tricks we've learned along the way.  I spent some time researching SIM cards abroad and only to find no certain solution because of all the different regions we hit thru our Europe tour.  Most of the time you'll end up wasting money if you buy a SIM card from a Belgian company expecting it to work in all of Europe.  The company that I've had the most luck with has been the Lebara SIM card I purchased and activate in the U.K.  I won't go into SIM cards in depth I will save that for another post but it's really important to learn how to navigate without SIM cards.  Our go to app: Google Maps our back up app: CityMapss2 Go

Here's a collection of tips and tricks we've learned about navigating without using any cellular data:
-locating wifi is important when arriving to a new location, establish a solid connection at a Starbucs or McDonalds two chain restaurants that often have free, reliable wifi
-Open up the Google Maps app and ensure the surrounding areas begin to load so you can see the main train station area
-Take a screen shot of that map view so you know how to get back there in the future and using this train station as a central point can be helpful as well
-Ensure your accommodations come with WiFi connection or else these tips and tricks will be useless
-Search out your activity for the day - if your using google maps on your laptop there's a neat trick that says "Send to device" we use function often to then create screen shot directions on our phones
-Map the route using Google Maps taking 3-4 screen shots: the beginning of the route, one of the middle and one of the end of the route (for WALKING routes)
-For public transportation routes take more screen shots, the walking portions at the beginning and end and also the train stop order so you can visually see all the stops to confirm your on the right public train or bus heading the right direction (see screen shots below)
-it may seem like an excessive amount of screenshots but these pieces really have helped us get around without relying on SIM cards to direct us
-Google maps is extremely strong even when your phone isn't connected to wifi or cellular data, Google maps still displays your current location and your most recently searched directions
-Pay attention to any physical landmarks (canals, churches, towers) these are usually displayed on Google Maps if you need assistance re-centering yourself
-Take quick photos of the metro stations your entering and exiting it can help you get back there if you have an image of the proper station sign (show this to your dinner server and ask for help)
-Just because you don't understand the local language/cities doesn't mean you can't use their public transpo just take a series of screen shots and know when to get off that train, bus or metro (by counting stops and paying close attention)
-Center, centrum, centre, centro, centrale are all good indicators that you're heading into the Center of town

Here are a series of screenshots to explain the tips and tricks above
— Meet You There travel hacks

Any questions on how we use these apps? Google Maps and CityMaps 2Go are the most used apps on our entire trip.  If you have any questions please feel free to comment us below! ~MYT