Every one of my trips starts with a list. For a long time, it was a mental list of stuff I saw when reading or surfing through Instagram for inspiration. Alternatively, the list was composed of bits of paper scattered everywhere, meaning a whole swath of great ideas could just disappear if I wasn’t paying attention to what I was throwing away.
Either way, I usually ended up missing some good stuff that I just totally forgot about.
Recently, though, I’ve begun to reduce the sheer clutter and hodgepodge of information I usually stuff into my brain/bag. I’ve turned to an online option that seems underutilized for how wildly helpful it can be: Google Maps ‘My Maps’.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to use Google Maps to plan a trip. You can easily create a highly customizable, easily searchable map for your next adventure.
How to use Google Maps to plan a trip
- Go to Google Maps and click on ‘My Places’.
- Head over to the ‘Maps’ and click ‘Create Map’ at the bottom of the page.
- Once there, you can search for the places on your list. They’ll pop up – click ‘Add to list’. You can edit the description with hours or other information you might have jotted down earlier.
- If you have a lot of points, I’d suggest creating layers such as restaurants, bars, museums, or whatever else you’re interested in.
- For extra ease, I like to change each layer’s pinpoint colors so it’s easy to see what category is nearby without having to search. (Do this by clicking on the paint bucket at the lower right of each info pop-up). You can also change the icon in the same menu.
- If you want to share your map, simply click the ‘Share’ button, make your map public, and insert the link wherever you’d like!
Bonus! Under the search bar, click on the line with three circles – this will let you create directions! Simply click on one place as your start point (A) and a second place as your end point (B), choose whether you’re walking or driving, and Google will calculate the easiest route between the two. So helpful!
As an example, check out my 2017 Indiana adventure list so far:
Have you ever used Google Maps to travel? Would you consider using one on your next trip?