Best Travel Tip: How to use GPS without Data

Does GPS Use Data?
Does GPS Use Data?

We’ve all made the mistake where we went on an international trip and didn’t pay for the extended plan from our home carrier, or buy a different sim card from destination country. Inevitably this mistake leads to a ridiculously expensive cell phone bill.

The charges usually seem way to high for what you actually used your phone for. Getting around this is now easy, all you have to do is learn the answer to the question below.

Does GPS use data?

Does GPS Use Data?

The answer to the question does GPS use data is that it doesn’t have to. The map application you use probably does data, but the actual GPS function does not.

By planning ahead of time with wifi, you can use your GPS including turn by turn navigation WITHOUT USING DATA!

GPS signal is different than a data signal

A GPS signal is different than a data signal. The GPS signal comes in from satellites, while your phone signal usually comes in from local towers. The GPS signal will still get picked up by your old phone without any service.

While on a flight If you keep your phone near a window and look at your map application you often see the GPS signal keeping up, even though you don’t have cellular service.

Download Maps Ahead of Time

Google Maps and many other applications let you download maps ahead of time, and when you are in the area you can leave your phone in airplane mode to make sure you aren’t using any data.

This is HUGE for international travelers who don’t have a data plan in their destination country. They can look up turn by turn directions to get around without running up their bill.

Learning this was an absolute game changer for me. I now have to make sure I planned ahead to download the maps off of my hotel’s wireless, but it saves me a ton of money.

Save Battery Life

Even if you have a data plan, you can use this to save battery life on your phone. Running various map applications tends to drain it really quick. I’ll often throw my phone into airplane mode on a long road trip or hike after downloading the map to save battery.

Download A Different Maps App

My favorite app to use for offline travel isn’t actually Google or Apple Maps. I use a separate app to make sure I’m not accidentally using data. The one I use is Maps.Me. I HIGHLY recommend it. You can download as many maps as you want ahead of time, and it even has most of the major landmarks marked.

Does GPS work without data? You bet it does if you have the write app or downloaded maps!

Final Word: Does GPS need internet?

You no longer need to wonder does GPS need internet if you set your phone up correctly. By downloading a map ahead of time and keeping your phone in airplane mode you can avoid all unwanted data charges.

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Hey there! I'm Claire, the founder of & While spending 4 years completely bedridden and miserable from an unexpected illness I decided to begin writing about past travel adventures and now the rest is history. Thank you so much for visiting the website. I hope you enjoy it!



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