I’ve often reiterated about how I value local transport more than the convenience of tour buses and cab rides. Because of this, I would find myself in a pickle navigating the public transport once I venture beyond the big cities to the lesser known. This happened for the first time in Normandy, France – they have a comprehensive network of buses and metro, yet Google Maps navigation detected none and insisted that I drive or walk. I didn’t have an international driving license, and I sure didn’t want to have to waste a whole hour walking to anywhere (although it is possible, being in the cold winter and having too much time to spend).
Don’t get me wrong. I still use Google Maps on a daily basis. They’re improving by day, and it’s handy to look up destination details and reviews. But when all else fails, I find myself looking up alternative apps that could get me to places just as conveniently.
I first discovered this app when planning my first trip to London. Being London-based, it’s naturally the best navigation app that covers the entire transport network of London, including Santander bicycle locations and routes and their very own car-sharing. They have expanded to many other cities in Europe, North America and Asia. I have personally used this in Los Angeles, Singapore, Paris and Toulouse, and am thrilled to find that they have added Taiwan to the list in the past year.
I especially love the app’s ability to calculate the fares required for some routes, so you can decide on cheaper alternatives. For bike routes, it tells me which are the more scenic routes and which are the fastest. When internet is non-existent in the subway, it could still near accurately figure out when I would arrive and notify a stop earlier accordingly. Of course, since it only covers major cities, there is still a long way to go, but this is my go-to app whenever I can.
I didn’t download this app until I found myself lost in the midst of Andorra, being insecure of my ability to self-navigate the local bus route by paper. It had been more of a test-for-luck, but thanks to that, I discovered the wonder of this app. Moovit is a public transit app that covers nearly worldwide, thanks to crowdsourced data.
Although the app requires internet to generate the route, it’s not a problem if you could plan your trip ahead. Keep the app open after you have started the trip, and just watch the map ticking off each stop as you move. Some data could use an update, but other than that, I find this app very useful for when there is no public transit available on Google map.
I downloaded this app recently in 2022 because of a recommendation from a blog about navigating Indonesia. I was having trouble reminding myself the name of the village I had to be at and finding it on Google Maps. With Maps.me, I didn’t have to zoom much before I could see every village there was in the area! I was instantly sold.
Besides this, this app is literally built for a traveller. Where Google Maps display every nook and cranny, Maps.me only displays hotels, restaurants and places of interest. This simplifies the itinerary and reduces the clutter in navigation. Although there is need for improvement for details and navigation, I definitely enjoy the interface.