When visiting a foreign city on your own you probably prepare yourself by checking out a few places in advance, don’t you? You look up where your hotel is, the places you plan to visit (or the office), surrounding restaurants, bars, shopping, ATMs etc.
At least that is what I did when I was traveling on business to Chicago just recently. I’m much more comfortable while traveling when I explore the destination a little bit in advance.
So what I did was bookmarking or “map-marking” a couple of places on an online map.
I annotated those map marks and so whenever I needed to orientate myself I could quickly open the mapping site on the web and have a look without typing in and looking up the same place (hotel, office) every time again.
I also updated the comments of my map-marks as I will probably visit Chicago again and want to remember where I went and how the experience was. Plus I can now share my personal map with colleagues or friends going to Chicago.
The only two things I was missing were these:
I’d love to have my personal map and map-marks on my mobile for on the go orientation. This could have been even an offline version, as all I want to do is quickly have a look at what I had set up already online. Of course I wouldn’t mind using the map online on my phone (i.e. over a data connection). But I somehow struggled to use my phone to go online and so and offline version would be a safe bet for such a service.
The other thing I’d love was to have an offline version on my laptop. My hotel had a steep rate for Internet access and although my company would probably pay for it, I was just to greedy to use it. So when returning back to the hotel after work I’d love to be able to check my map again and see where exactly to go for food and drinks I had researched before the trip.
One can argue that all hotels have some sort of free tourist guide and a map available at the concierge. However, those recommendations are often quite mainstream or biased by being paid for to be on that map.
Call me a punk or a chicken, but in today’s digital age I just don’t want to scribble around on a paper map and carry it around in my back pocket. Not to talk about unfolding it and letting everyone know that I’m a tourist.
I’d like to know if you have any experiences, tips and thoughts about what I just described. Are there better tools out there to set up and share map-marks?