Rally Barnard is a friend of Steve and mine, in fact he’s the guy who talked us into going on the India trip with him and his awesome wife Carolyn, and our friends Wally and Wendy Cherwinski, and Don and Barbara McAllister. Rally and Carolyn travel more than any people I’ve ever met; they go on around four big trips a year. They are our spiritual guides on all things travel. We even called them to find out what shoes to wear in the Galápagos Islands.
Anyway, if the idea of using Project Fi for international data sounds too hard, Rally is here with a quick maps tip to help you conserve data and yet get turn by turn directions while traveling.
In the USA, you can buy international data roaming packages from the cell providers. For example, Verizon has a 100 MB package over 30 days for $25, or a 250 Mb package for $50. Overages, even if it is just 1 MB, cost you $25 for the whole next 100 MB.
So, the problem to be solved is to find the most economical way to do your data roaming. Clearly, the best way is to use the hotel’s wi-fi. The one caution here is to make sure you turn off wi-fi Assist. This is an insidious feature that will use cellular data if the wi-fi signal isn’t strong enough. You won’t know that this has happened until you get an overage message though.
Ok, what about on the road? There is a great app called CityMaps2Go from Ulmon. It doesn’t require internet connectivity because it just uses the iPhone’s GPS. You can download maps for just about anywhere in whatever detail you need. It doesn’t provide you with turn-by-turn directions to get from point A to point B, though. Of course, there is also MotionX-GPS, which is very full featured.
But, here’s a neat trick that you can use with Apple Maps. (neat trick –Sounds a bit like email spam…)
If you want to plot a route with turn-by-turn directions, you select the start and end points in Apple Maps. While data roaming is turned on, let Maps calculate the route. Then you can turn off data roaming, but Siri will keep informing you of the next turn to make. The catch is, if you deviate from the stored route, Siri quits directing you, but the original route should still be there. You would need to turn on data roaming momentarily to get the recalculation done.I haven’t tried this with Google Maps, but this trick may work there also.So that’s my neat trick for your edification and amazement.
Thanks so much, Rally – that’s an excellent tip! I had no idea that could even be done.