Travel Curious

For independent travelers who want to dig deeper

How to get the most from this website

Our website is chock full of information on thousands of destinations and activities around the world, which you can use however you think works best for how your travel. 

We are independent travelers, we rent cars, use public transportation and find our way around the world without guides. Local guides have their place, but we love to research our destinations prior to travel and we often know more about a location than the local guide will, and you will too because you are using this website!

There are a few tips, techniques, and apps we use regularly that help supercharge our traveling experience, allowing us to dig deeper, and do more stuff with less stress. Understanding them will help you get the most out of this website and really improve and simplify your travels.

Google Maps (FREE)

This is the number one, most powerful app you can use as a traveler, and getting the most out of the content on this website relies heavily on using google maps to locate destinations and reach them.

  • If you don’t have it on your smartphone, download it now, we don’t use anything else, Google Maps is the best app for travel bar none.
  • It gives you travel independence, you can find anything and figure out how to get there on your own.
  • In most cases, we use or supply the names of destinations as they appear on google maps so they are easy to find.
  • For locations that aren’t listed prominently on google maps such as hiking trailheads, or off the beaten path destinations or activities we use decimal degrees coordinates (38.829228, -109.286650) (sort of like latitude and longitude), just copy and paste those numbers when you see them into Google Maps’ search box and ‘Star it” to save the location. 
  • It is a travel research tool. You can search for a restaurant and filter results based on the type of food you want, price of food, review ratings. (This is a pro tip! You want to find an off-the-beaten track fantastic restaurant experience while traveling in a strange city? Learn to use Google Maps like a pro, we find them all the time this way.)
  • Google Maps is a navigation tool on how to get from point A to point B. It talks to you! It is like having a friend in a foreign city guiding you to turn left here, turn right at the corner.
  • It is not just for driving, you can get walking directions and even public transportation options, Google Maps will tell you which bus to get on, what time it is arriving, and which stop to get off.

Starring locations is another important tip. We star locations we plan on visiting prior to the trip so once we are there, it’s easy to navigate. All we have to do is click on a star and get directions. Plus it makes it easier to do route planning when you can see a visual layout of multiple places you want to go during the day, or play it more by ear, you have options marked that are nearby. Google maps is absolutely indispensable on our travels.  

Google maps work offline

If you download your offline map of the area you will be. Even if you plan on having internet access on your travels a pro-level tip is to always download your destinations as offline maps, the app will automatically switch to them if you drive out of internet access and you can still find your way.

Copy & Paste with Google Maps

This is the number one skill!

Getting the most out of the content on this website means using it with Google Maps. learn to highlight text on this website, copy it, and paste it onto your Google Maps and star and save it so you can pull it up on your smartphone once you are traveling on your trip. 

If you don’t know the short-cuts on your keyboard start now:

  • (Control+C) equals copy
  • (Control+P) equals paste


Internet access for your cell phone

You can certainly travel without cell service and most of the apps that we use for our travels have offline functions, and we plan for how to function offline, but your smartphone with some form of internet access really allows you to maximize your travels and today it’s never been easier, there are so many options available to the traveler.

We have to be able to communicate with Airbnb hosts, use google maps to navigate, look at google maps for local restaurants close to us and filter them by review to find a spur-of-the-moment place to eat, etc..

T-mobile Simple Global (FREE)

We have used T-mobile forever, the ‘uncarrier’ as they like to call themselves offers many features at great prices, and their free Simple Global add-on to your existing plan gives you free unlimited data and texting in 210 foreign countries. Once set up there is nothing to do it just works when you arrive.

An alternative is to purchase a local sim card, you can buy one at the airport on your arrival. The benefits to this are much faster data speeds.

If you have a new enough cell phone you can use its e-sim capabilities.  These are electronic or virtual sim cards and there are providers you can sign up for before your trip and pre-buy data at very cheap rates and your phone just works when you arrive, no sim cards to seek out and purchase.

  • (FREE)

For hiking in locations all over the world, nothing we’ve ever found beats this free app, and it works without cell phone service.

  • Download an offline map to your phone of the area you will be in prior to traveling so everything works offline.
  • Instantly find your location anywhere you are and orient yourself.
  • You can track your hike and save it.
  • You can set waypoints prior to your hike to follow.
  • You can save your GPS location wherever you are to reference later
  • Explore where you want to hike and get the total distance and elevation gains of the hike for trails you want to go on. 

Evernote (FREE)

This has been my note-taking app of choice forever. We have copies of our web pages as notes in Evernote as references when we travel. The web clipper makes it easy to turn web pages into notes that you can take with you and work offline. The free version works great, especially to get started, the paid versions will give you more options.

  • Add the web clipper to your Google Chrome browser to turn webpages into notes
  • Use your notes offline

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