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Best Offline Travel Map App: Ulmon CityMaps2Go Review

Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot

I was a day away from my first (partially) solo trip. It was to Prague. I didn’t speak the language. Like, literally not one word – not even “hello.” And I was am a cheapo when it comes to international roaming fees or phone plans. I was excited – I had never been to Eastern Europe – but I was anxious too. See, I wasn’t sure how to get around without Internet. How was I going to find my hotel with public transit? (Yes, I was am too cheap to take a cab if I didn’t have to). How was I going to find everything I wanted to see? Would I remember the way back home each night? Honestly, props to all the tourists pre-smart-phone era! Cuz I was low-key freaking out…

It became quickly apparent that I needed an offline map – ASAP. Google Maps didn’t have offline downloads back then, but I found something else…something better…called Ulmon. Name sounded strange but, hey, don’t knock it ‘til ya try it, amirite? Well, immediately, I was in love. Over the next few days of getting to my hotel without a hitch and exploring Prague with strong confidence and sense of direction, I knew this was my app forever. And it has been! It’s helped me plan detailed itineraries before even buying a plane ticket. It’s guided me through everything – from the narrow souks of Marrakech to the concrete jungle of New York City to the colonial town of Antigua. I seriously love, love, lovvvve this app. And today, I will share this little gem of an app with you all!

Ulmon is NOT paying me to say any of this. I just seriously use this app SO much and have found it SO useful for stress-free travel planning over the years. It truly is the best offline travel map I’ve found.

WHAT IS ULMON CITYMAPS2GO?

Ulmon CityMaps2Go is the ultimate best offline travel map and travel planner. It is an app for mobile devices, where you can save locations of interest – like attractions, hotels, bus stations, restaurants, or even custom locations – and can group them by category and color to organize. You can download their maps of cities, regions, or countries. We are talking detailed maps that include even the smallest of alleyways and specifics like dashed lines to signalize stairways. Once you download an area, you can search for and save locations in that area, even while you are offline. So if you are in a rush for a trip, you can just download the region you need and save all your locations while on the plane.

HOW TO USE ULMON CITYMAPS2GO

This is how I use CityMaps2Go before EVERY trip – whether international or domestic:

When I am planning a trip, I will at some point have a list of things I want to see. I will also eventually have at least a place or two with food or beverage I want to try. And I will also have places important for other reasons, like the airport, bus or train stations, and my accommodation. These, for me, are the three categories of important locations when I travel: attractions, food, and meeting points. And these three categories are how I use CityMaps2Go.

Let’s say I am planning a trip to Paris. First off, I will download the entire map for Paris.

Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot
Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot
Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot
Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot

I know I want to see the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre. So I zoom in over Paris and search “Eiffel Tower.” I then hit the star-shaped “save” button.

ulmon how to plan trip
Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot
ulmon how to plan trip

Since this is my very first saved place, I will need to add a “list,” or category. I name mine “Attractions.” Now, the Eiffel Tower is a saved location on my map.

Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot
Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot

I’ll now search the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre and add them to the same “Attractions” category I just made. When I view my map, I can now see all my attractions.

ulmon how to plan trip
ulmon how to plan trip
Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot

While in Paris, I also want to try pastries from Laduree and Pierre Herme. So I search Laduree. But I know there is more than one in Paris. So I click the map icon to see which location I want to save. I see one is conveniently near the Arc de Triomphe, so I click that one and hit the save star. I create a new list and call it “Food.”

ulmon how to plan trip
Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot
ulmon how to plan trip

This list is the same default color as my other list, so I want to change that. I click “My Lists” at the bottom of the screen, then “Food,” then scroll to the bottom. Then I select the color I like, and hit “Done.”

Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot
ulmon how to plan trip
Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot
ulmon how to plan trip

Now when I return to the map, I can clearly see what spots are Attractions and what spots are Food. I add Pierre Herme to the Food category, too.

Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot
Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot

I’ll be staying at the Ritz (hey, a girl can dream, right?) and arriving via train into the main train station. So I want to have these locations saved, too. I save these locations just like the Attractions and Food, and I create a blue category called “Meeting Points.”

Ulmon CityMaps2Go Mobile Phone Screenshot

And there you have it – my Paris itinerary all mapped out and ready to go! (In actuality, I always finish the attraction category before even deciding where I want to stay, so that I can make sure my accommodation is conveniently located for what I want to see.)


Related reading: The Ultimate Guide on How to Plan a Trip


Then, before your trip, download the map! Otherwise, all that work was kinda for nothing. When you land in your new location, the app might take a while to catch a GPS signal and activate your “current location” tracker. You can speed this process up if you need to by logging into airport WiFi. Once it catches your location, it’s good to go until the next time you are in the air and it loses signal.

Lastly, you can also save custom locations. If you find something cool while in a place and want to save it to return to later, you can press down on that spot on the map. It will create a custom location that you can save, name, and categorize.

HOW DO I GET ULMON CITYMAPS2GO?

This app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or from Google Play. You will see there are two versions of the app – a free version and a paid version. When I first started using the app, there was no paid version. But after some time, they created a limit of 2 downloads before you need to upgrade to the paid version. Remember in the first bit of this post when I kept calling myself a cheapo? Yeah, well this is the ONLY app I have ever paid for in the history of my having a smart phone. I just travel so much, I couldn’t imagine life without this app. But the free version makes a great tool to use until you decide that paying for the app is worth it for you.

WHY NOT JUST USE GOOGLE TRIPS OR GOOGLE MAPS?

I was super excited when Google rolled out Google Trips, because it was around when Ulmon rolled out the 2 downloads limit. But to be frank, I was rather disappointed by Google Trips. I found it difficult to create a visually appealing map like I could with the colored categories in CityMaps2Go. Also, I felt that Trips was geared for US weekend trips with cars. It was not as friendly to use for navigating streets by foot. This dissatisfaction with Trips is ultimately what gave me the push to finally get the paid version of Ulmon CityMaps2Go. I knew it was the best offline travel map.

As for Google Maps offline downloads, I have used this a couple times as well. I find it mostly helps me plan trips over more land area, like international road trips. I find Google maps a little inconvenient for walking directions, even in my day-to-day life, and don’t find it helpful for creating an itinerary they way I can with CityMaps2Go.


SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you usually use Google to get from place to place when you travel? Or do you resort to something else like I do? I would love to hear if there are any apps you love out there that I should try. And if you end up trying Ulmon CityMaps2Go, I would love to know if you also find it to be the best offline travel map!

LIKE IT? PIN IT FOR LATER.

I've been using this offline travel map mobile app since my very first solo trip. Here I detail exactly how I use it to plan my trips.
I've been using this offline travel map mobile app since my very first solo trip. Here I detail exactly how I use it to plan my trips.

6 Comments

  • […] Google Maps has worked for me in all of the places I have traveled to, but there are some areas of the world where a different map might be more useful. Different maps can also provide you with features that you may prefer. You can always do an internet search to explore possible options. For example, CityMaps2Go is an alternative map app that provides offline access to maps and information regarding different attractions. For a well-written guide about how to use CityMaps2Go, check out this post. […]

    Reply
  • Howard Goldberg
    February 7, 2022 at 11:04 AM

    Long time user of CityMaps2Go, but haven’t tired sharing lists with other users until now. if I share one of my citymaps2go lists, can the receiver import it into the app and have all the sites in the list active? I know I can send the list, but don’t know if the list will integrate on the receiver’s app and be useful

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      March 6, 2022 at 9:22 AM

      Hi Howard! I apologize for my delay in response. I haven’t tried sharing lists with others either, so I sadly can’t answer your question. 🙁 If you tried it out, I’d love to know how it went! 🙂

      Reply
  • John
    January 1, 2022 at 11:27 AM

    Great post. I stumbled across this app some years ago and every single one of your points is spot on. The streets of many international cities especially those in Europe can look like a tangled mess and CityMaps2Go makes exploring so much more enjoyable and stress free. The ability to drop a pin whenever you pass by a landmark or restaurant of interest is a great feature. I prefer to walk everywhere and this amazing app will even display a map scale and provide the distance to your destination. Worth every penny.

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      March 6, 2022 at 9:23 AM

      Thanks, John!

      Reply
  • 10 Minutes of Mac – Library &
    November 14, 2021 at 9:29 AM

    […] “lists of places displayed as map pins.” They pale in comparison to the annotated, color-coded, offline maps that I rely on for big trips. (Fussy folders!) Still, it was handy to be able to flag the mansions […]

    Reply

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