Q. I will use only my Verizon plan iPhone and Google Maps for driving directions in Europe. What plans or workarounds can I use to minimize data use?
A. If you have access to a Wi-Fi connection and space on your phone to store around 300 to 500 megabytes, you can download maps before you go and avoid cellular data use altogether. The downloaded maps include local attractions and driving directions between places (often complete with audio navigation) in areas where those features are available. You can even download the maps at home before you leave on the trip.
To download a map for later use on an iOS or Android device, open the Google Maps app while connected to a Wi-Fi network and sign into your Google Account (or create one if you have not already). Search for a city or other European location you plan to visit on your trip. When the place appears in Google Maps, tap the name in the panel of information next to the map. Then tap Download.
Because they contain a lot of information, the downloaded maps can be rather hefty files. Keep in mind the preloaded versions will not have real-time information like traffic conditions.
If you prefer to get real-time updates with your Google Maps directions, consider getting an international travel plan from Verizon Wireless before you go, which is typically cheaper than roaming on the data networks of overseas carriers. (If you are renting a car in Europe, getting one with a GPS unit is another alternative.)
Like most major carriers, the Verizon Wireless site has an international trip planner where you can enter the names of the countries you plan to visit, your smartphone model and an estimate of how much data you think you may need to use. Once you enter the information, the site confirms that your device will work in that country and suggests an add-on plan for international coverage.
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