You have planned your trip on Google Maps, but how do you export your Google Maps route to use offline? This is the step-by-step process we use to export our trip planning using Google Maps so we can use it offline on our phone!
For those that have been following our blog, we previously posted about how we plan our trips on Google Maps and explained the features we use to customise our maps to make them more user-friendly.
We love Google Maps as a planning tool and use it to map and store all the information we have researched leading up to a trip in a new city. We include not only the sights we want to see, but notes and top-tips on how to visit these sights, accommodation options, locations to stay, recommended restaurants and meals, and regional foods to try.
We often don’t have a SIM card when we travel so we are reliant on finding ways to use apps we can use offline that work and are reliable. So, even though we plan our trips on Google Maps, you need to be online so it is not a viable option for us to explore new cities and get us from point A to Point B.
So, we do all our planning on Google Maps and then simply export our map / travel planning to Maps.Me app on our phone to use offline. The whole process takes about 5 minutes…
We have used these tools for travel / route planning and navigation around countries and cities successfully for years. We have customised maps for our 1 month road trip around Queensland in Australia, lots of cities in Turkey, and islands such as Phuket in Thailand, to name just a couple.
So, are you ready to learn how simple it is? Read on for our step-by-step guide on how to export your Google Maps route to use offline on your phone. We will show you just how easy it is so you will never get lost again when exploring a new city!
Did You Know?
- Google Maps is free to use and you can categorise and personalise your map to help visually
- Maps.Me is a free app and suitable for android and iPhone
- Maps.Me can be used offline and has detailed maps for cities around the world
“The most important places on a map are the places we haven’t been yet.”– Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar, The Map of Salt and Stars –
How to Export Google Maps Route to Use Offline on Maps.Me on Your Phone
So, here are the steps we follow to export our custom Google Map pins into Maps.Me, including any additional notes we have written to assist with planning i.e. opening times of sights, food recommendations etc.
Step 1: Sign-In to Google Maps and Open Your Customised Google Map
Go to the main Google Maps page and sign-in with your Google username.
Open your customised map.
- Click on ‘Menu’ on the top left (3 horizontal lines)
- Click on ‘Your places’
- Click on ‘Maps’ (4th tab across the top)
- Click and open your map.
Step 2: Export Your Google Map
N.B. You can only export a map from Google Maps if you are on a desktop or laptop computer. It will not work if you try to do this using your phone.
- Click on ‘Menu’ on the top left (3 horizontal lines)
- Click on ‘Export to KML/KMZ’
- Ensure ‘Entire map’ is selected
- Click the checkbox ‘Export as KML instead of KMZ. Does not support all icons.’
- Click on ‘Download’.
Step 3: Open the KML File and Send to Yourself
You now need to be able to open this file on your phone so you will need to choose how to do this. This can be done through and file sharing app such as Dropbox, however, we find the easiest way to do this is by emailing it to myself.
- Go to your Downloads folder on your computer
- Copy the file
- Open your email account and open ‘New Email’
- Paste the file into a new email and email to yourself.
Step 4: Download the Maps.Me App on Your Phone
If you haven’t already, download the ‘Maps.Me’ app on your phone. Once downloaded, search for the same city as your Google map and download the city.
Step 5: Open Your Downloaded KML File on Your Phone
This step requires you to open the downloaded KML file on your phone using whatever file sharing app you have chosen to use.
As we mentioned above, we find the easiest way is to email the file to ourselves!
- Open your email app on your phone and find the email with the downloaded KML file
- Click on the file
- You will be automatically directed to your Maps.Me app
- All your customised pins will appear on your downloaded map of the relevant city in Maps.Me.
Step 6: Finding Your Imported Map on Maps.Me
You can always find your imported maps from Google Maps in ‘Bookmarks’ in Maps.Me.
- Go to ‘Menu’ (bar across the bottom) in Maps.Me
- Click on ‘Favourites’.
Here you will find all the customised maps you have created in Maps.Me, as well as the customised ones you have imported from Google Maps.
Step 7: Customise Your Map in Maps.Me
Unfortunately, when you export your customised map (colour coded pins with icons) from Google Maps, your customisation does not transfer over. This is a little annoying, however, it does not take long to make some quick changes and change the colour of the pins to make your map easier to use. There are a couple of ways to do this….
Option 1: You can edit your pins from the ‘Bookmark’.
- Click to open your saved ’Bookmark’ to get a list of your pins
- Click on the 3 dots (…) on the right beside your pin title
- Click on ‘Edit bookmark’ to change the colour of the icon (we recommend using the same colour coding as you did in Google Maps), and also to edit and add information to the notes under ‘Description’.
Option 2: You can edit your pins from the map directly.
- Click on a pin
- Click on the edit icon (pencil) on the right beside the name of your pin
- Click on ‘Change colour’ and select your chosen colour (again we recommend using the same colour coding as you did in Google Maps)
- Click on green button ‘Apply’ to save
- Add information to the notes under ‘Description’ by clicking in the box and adding text
- Click on green button ‘Apply’ to save.
N.B. If only changing the colour of the icon, you must click on green button ‘Apply’ twice or your changes won’t be saved.
Pros and Cons of Maps.Me
Pros of Maps.Me
The Maps.Me app has been developed based on using offline maps, so by default it is in offline mode.
The landmarks in the app are pretty comprehensive and very accurate, allowing you to plan your route from point A to point B to quickly get directions with exact distances and approximate times for walking, cycling and driving. There is also route planning available for public transport but we have not used this feature.
As mentioned above, we very rarely buy local SIM cards and have successfully used this app for all our exploring of new cities and road trip planning over the past 5 years of fulltime travel.
Since you need to download city and country maps online ahead of time, you can then search for places even while offline.
By exporting your Google Map trip plan to Maps.Me app means you no longer have to repeatedly search for every point of interest in a city and bookmark them to both Google Maps and your phone app. We have found this saves an enormous of time which is time better spent exploring the city!
N.B. In order for Maps.Me to be able to plot your route and detect your location, you will need to switch on your phone’s GPS and make sure your phone is not in flight mode.
Top Tip: We have also found that if you run the app in airplane mode, it will save your battery life and still allow you to navigate through areas without data coverage.
Cons of Maps.Me
To use maps offline, you’ll need Wi-Fi or a data plan ahead of time in order to download the city or country map.
There is no web interface for Maps.Me which means all pre-trip and on-the-go research will need to be done on your phone.
When exporting your customised map from Google Maps, your customisation does not transfer over i.e. colour coded pins with icons.
When searching for specific places using Maps.Me, sometimes you will be unable to find them as this app is purely user-generated and populated. However, this is also a pro because if you find something really cool such as street art or delicious street food, you can add it on Maps.Me for other travellers to find.
At times, the ‘My location’ and directions for travelling in route planning can be a little indecisive / inaccurate. We have found this to be more common on very cloudy days and in big cities with lots of tall buildings. Eventually, it seems to work itself out though and you get back on track.
In Summary – How to Export Google Maps Route to Use Offline on Maps.Me on Your Phone
Personally, we have found exporting our customised Google Maps trip plan to Maps.Me has been the best solution we have found so far to assist us to navigate around new cities in our travels without needing a local SIM card or data plan.
We admit, it is not the perfect solution, but until Google Maps improves its offline functionality, we are happy to take another couple of minutes to edit the colour coding on the pins to make navigation a little easier.
Are you planning a trip in the near future? Have you used Maps.Me to assist you with navigating around cities before? How do you use it or what features would you like to see improved? Post your tips and questions below.
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TECH / TRAVEL PLANNING TIPS: RELATED BLOG POSTS
Want more travel tips related to tech to help you plan, organise and assist you when travelling? Check out all the articles we’ve written on tech related /travel planning tips below and continue planning for your next trip.
- HOW TO PLAN A TRIP ON GOOGLE MAPS
- HOW TO ACCESS AIRPORT WIFI PASSWORDS AROUND THE WORLD
- 8 OF THE BEST VACATION PLANNER APPS
- THE IMPORTANCE OF TRAVEL INSURANCE
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Essential Travel Planning Resources
Below are our favourite companies to use for planning our travels. They consistently turn up the best deals, offer great customer service and amazing value, and overall, are better than their competitors. These are always our starting point when we need to book a flight, hotel, tour, car rental etc.
Book a Tour:
We mostly travel independently, however, some places are better to visit with a guided tour. We prefer GetYourGuide for its easy-to-use interface and solid reputation, but we also use Viator.
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out our Travel Resources page for the companies we use and recommend to plan and book our travels. Through lots of trial and error over the years, these are the best!
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