Are you traveling soon? If so, you may want to consider using Google Maps to plan it. Sounds bizarre, I know. Stay with me here and I’ll explain! You can create your own map, with pinned destinations & highlights, and it is automatically saved in your Google Drive. (Don’t have a Google account? Why not? Go to google.com and set one up. It’s free, it’s a great for saving documents and photos on the go.)
This is a great resource when you’re traveling to an unknown place because you’ll have a informal understanding of the geography beforehand, and you can calculate distances and whether a destination is easily walkable, or another form of transportation is necessary. Plus, it’s easily accessible on your mobile device, so you don’t have to bring maps or pages of printed information.
Here’s how you do it.
Go to maps.google.com and click the three horizontal bars in the left corner.
Click the My Maps button.
Click Create New Map at the bottom of the page.
Here you will enter your destination and name your map.
I’ve chosen Paris as our imaginary destination…because, Paris. This will be your base map and template. Don’t worry about layers; keep it simple.
From here, you can start adding pins by typing in an address at the top and then clicking ‘add to map’ in the highlighted area. I’ve chosen to add an apartment location as one of our pins.
If you hover over the dropped pin on the menu, you can change the color and add an icon shape.
I set the pin for the apartment as a house icon to make it easy to see.
Then you can start adding additional pins by searching locations and adding them to your map.
Click the vertical dots for directions, and indicate your mode of transportation. I’ve chosen walking for our examples, because of course you want to walk the streets of Paris! There’s so much to see! You can add your destinations in the order you plan to see them, and don’t forget to click your apartment as the first and last destination so you will have a round trip itinerary.
This looks like a great day in Paris, easily navigated by foot. We will be walking to Père Lachaise Cemetery, where we will can see the graves of notables like Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, and Oscar Wilde. From there, we’re walking across the Seine to Notre Dame Cathedral, to see the beautiful grounds and amazing architecture and interior. Then we will walk back over the Seine to the Marais, and have the best falafel ever at L’As Du Fallafel, because we are starving by now! After we finish eating, we’ll probably want to wander the gorgeous streets of the Marais and do some shopping before we head back to our apartment.
Another nice feature of Google Maps is the ability to share the map with a travel companion, and they too can add pins and destinations to the main map. I currently have a map in progress for our trip to Amsterdam in April, and have shared it with everyone who will be on the trip. Each person has added different sites, near and far, to the map. As it gets closer to our trip, we’ll sit down and open Google Calendar to plan a rough itinerary of our time there.
What are some of the resources you are currently using for planning your trips? Let us know in the comments!
image via unsplash