Planning a trip can be a lot of work when figuring out where everything is. One way to visualize everything quickly is using Google My Maps. Is it the best tool out there, though? Check out our post to find out if it’s right for you!
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When planning a trip, one of the most stressful parts can be picturing where everything is. Sometimes, you want to lay out your whole itinerary and pinpoint all the stops, restaurants, and sights to best plan what to do and when.
As an internet user, you’re probably familiar with Google Maps and how to use it while planning your trips. Did you know that Google has another maps function called Google My Maps? It’s a newer Google feature, but is it one you should use? Read on for all the details you need to know and whether it’s right for your next trip!
What is Google My Maps?
Released in 2013, Google My Maps is a feature of Google Maps that allows you to create custom maps that you can share with others. Google My Maps is available on Android and iPhone through the Google Maps app. You can log into Google My Maps using your Google Account. Doing this allows everything to be linked and easily accessed with your Google Account
Google Maps vs. Google My Maps
Google Maps is Google’s map function, which allows you to search for destinations and navigate between two points. My Maps allows you to use that same technology to add many destinations and navigate between all of them. Since you can customize your maps, you have access to more information than you would on Google Maps, and you can also see multiple destinations together.
How to use Google My Maps
Google My Maps can be accessed online, and from there you can start creating your maps. Start by clicking the red “create a new map” button in the upper left corner, and then give your map a name. Once you’ve done that, you can start adding pins to locations on your map.
As you add more pins, you can personalize them by giving them names or changing the color. You can even layer in step-by-step directions by foot, bike, or public transport. For more detailed instructions, head to My Maps’ Help Page!
How to access Google My Maps offline
While it’s super helpful to be able to make these maps while you’re planning your trip, what happens when you go offline?
The first trick is to download your map from the website while you are online. You can then access those maps whenever and wherever! Downloading requires you to set a specific area of the map, so you’ll be unable to download the whole map in one go if it spans large distances.
What if you forgot to download the maps, though? No worries! Using the rectangle icon in the upper right-hand corner, you can easily open the map in Google Maps to keep it there for later reference. Just be sure not to close the web page or app once offline!
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to access Google My Maps offline beyond those two methods or taking a screenshot before you start your travels.
How to use Google My Maps to plan a trip
One of the best uses of Google My Maps is for planning a trip. When you create a map, you can add multiple layers, e.g., you can create a layer for food, things to do, hotels, and more. That way, you can easily edit each aspect of your itinerary and keep everything in one place.
Once you start dropping pins into each layer, you can customize them by color and add notes to include anything you want to be sure to remember as you plan. Some users have reported that Google My Maps isn’t always accurate regarding addresses, so double-check all locations before dropping a pin from Google My Maps alone. Keep in mind that the layer feature can’t be accessed offline.
You can then easily access your map as you travel to navigate from place to place. If you’re planning with friends, you can invite them to edit your map, so you can all be on the same page!
Directions using Google My Maps
In addition to being able to plot directions between two points, you can also use Google My Maps to navigate in real-time. By tapping the destination point of where you want to go on your map, you can then select Destinations, and your guided route will start. This feature does require a connection to the internet, though.
Google My Maps Alternatives
While Google My Maps is a helpful tool for planning trips, it’s not the only option available. Tripit is a great app for keeping your itinerary organized and all your reservations in one place. For road trips, Roadtrippers is the perfect app for building a trip and following the correct route to get where you want to go.
Is Google My Maps worth it?
As a starting point for planning trips, Google My Maps can be a great resource. It’s handy that you can customize pins and color code them so you can easily see what you’ve mapped out for your trip. However, it is prone to location errors, and accessing it offline can be hit or miss.
While it’s great for getting the lay of the land, Google My Maps doesn’t provide you with an itinerary planning option beyond the notes section of each pin. You could layer in for each day, but Google My Maps only allows up to 10 layers, and those layers can’t be accessed offline.
That being said, there are more alternatives that could be a better fit for you! For more travel planning apps, read about the top free travel planning apps or the best travel apps you should be using this year!
Our rating: 3.6/5
- Customizable maps
- Share maps with others
- Friends can edit maps
- Prone to inaccuracy
- Limited offline features
- Restricted planning
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