Phone use in Europe

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by yobuddy, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. yobuddy

    yobuddy Been here awhile

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    Going to Spain next month. Don't need my phone for calls but can I still use it for GPS and other wifi related apps.?

    Thanks for your help!
    #1
  2. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

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    You can test it by enabling the airplane mode. If you want to use GPS for routing and browsing maps, you need an app which supports offline data. Then you can download the area of interest whenever you have WiFi for use later on. Otherwise GPS will only give coordinates.

    Routing and maps suggestions
    - If you drop a pin on Google Maps, you can download the area around it for offline use. For details and limitations, search 'google maps offline navigation'.
    - I use the app 'Here', which allows to download routable maps for whole countries and continents, providing you have a big SD card.
    Many other options out there ...
    #2
  3. yobuddy

    yobuddy Been here awhile

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    Thanks for your input. I do need to a little research but those bits you provided do help!
    #3
  4. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Right here on ADV - Mapping & Navigation: GPS 101 quite a few threads about use of your phone for the purposes of GPS.

    Discussions on which phones, holders, charging, waterproofness, what apps, which maps, how-to's.... the whole malarky.
    #4
  5. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    maps.me (Android - not sure if there's an IOS version) lets you store as much on your phone as you want, memory allowing, and it supports routing - at least to a single destination.

    North America + most of Europe (East & West) wants about 24GB of storage. You can select by country or region to minimize memory demands.
    #5
  6. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Also apps like CoPilot, which is a complete nav system, with offline maps (needs no cell signal), routing, voice turns, lane guidance and stuff. My partner has it on her tablet, but it would fit on the phone too. Both free and paid versions available.
    We only use it to find specific locations like restaurants and hotels, so hardly stressing its capabilities - maybe others have more hard core experience.
    Hers does voice recognition of addresses (mostly - it may depend on how correctly you speak and pronounce English...)

    Several other either free or very low cost apps available which do the same job.

    Cell coverage is remarkably widespread in much of EU. and maybe beyond. Many rural areas went from very sketchy landlines to 4G. The technology was just so much easier and cheaper for everyone.
    Googlemaps is very competent for the uses we need.
    Of course you could be off piste somewhere, really needing it, only to find you have no coverage...
    #6
  7. Rudl

    Rudl Panthera tigris alpina

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    I would just buy a prepaid data SIM card as soon as in Spain in one of the many Vodafone, Orange or independent phone shops. For EUR 15-20 you get a SIM card and enough data allowance for a month. Then trow the SIM card away after your stay.
    Bring a passport, in Spain you need to register your SIM card.
    This way you can use your phone like at home w/o the calls.
    #7
  8. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Don't know who your service provider is but I use T-Mobile. They used to offer free unlimited international data roaming, and free unlimited text messaging and 20 cents per minute voice calling when signed up for their T-Mobile One plan. Now I see that they have eliminated the free international roaming in Mexico and Canada. This feature alone made T-Mobile the best choice for me. I have used their free international data roaming in over 30 countries in Latin America, Europe, and Asia, and it has always worked flawlessly. It's nice not to have to screw around with local SIM cards, searching for WiFi hotspots, etc. They claim to limit the data speed when roaming internationally, although I haven't noticed too much of a slowdown. I've been able to use Google Maps for navigation, and when I am out of range from mobile service, I switch over to maps.me, which relies on the phone's internal GPS rather than the cellular network. I use maps.me with an iPhone 7+, and I think it's available for Android as well. It works flawlessly. The only hitch is that you have to download the maps of where you'll be traveling first, preferably over a WiFi network. This isn't much different, and in fact is much faster, than having to preload current maps into a Garmin or other "real" GPS device. All that being said, on a recent trip through Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Paraguay, I didn't even bring the old Garmin GPS along for the trip. My iPhone and maps.me/Google Maps handled it all.
    #8