Google Maps is great for getting directions and finding places of interest, but you might not be aware of all the cool available Google Maps tips and tricks for travel. A seasoned traveler knows that having a balance between planning/organizing and being spontaneous is ideal for traveling. Google Maps has useful tools for planning your trip as well as to aid you while you’re on your trip.
Map your road trip route
Thanks to the portability and reliability of mobile phones nowadays, you can do a few pre-trip technological preparations. For example, if you’re going on a road trip, you can create a route with as many stops as you want. Google will tell you how long each leg will take.
Create an “idea itinerary”
You can also create a type of flexible itinerary by saving in advance all the places you would like to go.
Download map data
Pro tip: If you think you won’t have access to internet where you’re going, Google allows you to download maps for offline use and navigate them as easily as if you were online.
One of my favourite features, and not so secret, is searching for a place to eat. By using the “search nearby” tool, you can search for whatever you’re in the mood at the moment like: “food”, “coffeeshop”, or even more specific things like “brunch”, “healthy places to eat”, “budget eats”, and “gelato”. You’ll get a list of all the places including the very useful star ratings, reviews, photos of the place, and how far it is from your current location by foot, car, public transportation, and bike. A cool option is searching the “where locals like to eat.”
Just make sure you put your phone down when you actually sit down to eat or drink and talk to the person you’re with or if traveling solo, people-watch.
Avoid the crowds
“Popular times” is another one of my favourite Google Maps features. If you’re wanting to go to a restaurant or a museum or any attraction, you can check out its busiest times (and avoid them). You can even check how busy they are in real time.
Visualize a new area
Another great tip for those who are pretty bad at directions (like myself), or people who are more visual, is Google Mapping the address of a new place you’re intending to go to, such as your Airbnb, and using the Street View feature. You can take a closer real look of the place from outside and navigate its nearby streets and turns so you can better recognize a new place.
Find the cheapest gas
Also, if you’re in the United States and you need gas, you can search for nearby gas stations and it’ll show you the price, so you can find the cheapest one!
Speaking of visual people, check out the infographic below to guide you through all of these Google Maps tips and tricks for travelers plus a few more.
“A traveler’s guide to using Google Maps”, courtesy of Expedia.ca
Which is your favourite feature to use? Do you know of any other Google Maps tips?