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  • Writer's pictureDanae Bianco

How to plan a Trip Using Google MyMaps

Updated: Mar 18


It may sound a cliche, but it's true: after I learned how to use Google MyMaps, my travels took a step up.


It became much easier to plan the itineraries, organize what to do on each day of the trip; culculate routes, distances and times; write down tips for restaurants and bars; remember the exact location of hotels/Airbnbs; figure out the route to and from the train/bus station or airport, in short, everything that involves moving on a trip - and moving is what we do most in any type of trip.


In this post I will show you, step by step, how I use MyMaps on my travels. I've learned a lot, but I know I still have a lot to improve, so if you use the tool, please share your tips, I'll love to hear them and certainly learn something.


I also know that everyone plans and organizes their trips in their own way, I'll show you how I do it, so maybe you may be able to use one or other idea to apply to your way of traveling.



Let's learn how to plan a trip using Google MyMaps!


CREATING A MAP


Acces, on your desktop, Google MyMaps with your Google username, or enter Google Maps, click on the menu (those three bars on the left side of the search box), then on "Your Places" and then on "Maps"


Europe map on Google Maps - MyMaps


Select "Create new map" and give it a name (clicking on the three dots -> see figure below); if you want, you can also add a brief description about that map being created.


Europe map on Google Maps - MyMaps


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps

INCLUDING PLACES ON THE MAP


Start by adding all the places you want to visit, restaurants you want to go to or that have been recommended to you, the hotel you will be staying at, stations you will be taking the train from, etc.


Don't worry about following an order at this point, just add whatever you want - later we'll adjust the order of things. And don't worry if you don't know all the places now, at any time you can add new places, or exclude them.


To add a location, put the name in the search box, Google will give you some suggestions and you choose the one you want.


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps

Once you have selected the correct location in the search box, it will appear on the map with a box with various information: name (as shown on Google Maps), address, telephone, official website, Google rating and other information, and an option "+ Add to map" - this is where you click to include this location on your map.


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps

Done! The Eiffel Tower is now added to your map. See that it's on a layer (in this case, the generic "untitled layer" - later you can adjust this if you want)


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps

Just go ahead, repeating the same steps for the next items of your script. Put everything on the map: tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, cafes, train stations, subway stations, theatre, museums, friends' houses, etc.


Speaking of Paris, Tiana has great tips on how to spend one day in Paris.


You can also select points directly on the map, or enter the GPS coordinates (something that, for Paris, doesn't seem necessary, but on other trips can be a very useful tool)


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps

After a lot of playing around on the map and putting everything you remember you want to do and all the recommendations you've received (don't despair, if you remember something later it's very easy to include), you'll have a map more or less like this:


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps

ORGANIZING PLACES INTO CATEGORIES


Now the planning itself begins: I like to first divide it all into categories.


For example, for this trip, I chose these categories (logically, the categories change according to the style and purpose of each trip):


- museums, palaces and churches

- tourist attractions in general

- Hotels

- restaurants, bars, cafes, ice cream, etc.

- transport (train/bus stations, airport, car rental offices, etc.)

- others


Will you travel with children? Map the playgrounds in the region! They will be very important on your trip, I guarantee you.


For each mapped point, I put a specific icon. This is done by clicking on the name of the place in the list, the box with all the information about the place will appear on the map again; there's a "paint can" symbol (see picture below): that's where you select the characteristics of this pin.


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps


By clicking on this "paint can", you can choose the color of the pin and its icon. I usually use color to sort by day, but if you want to use color to sort by category go ahead, feel free to do what you think works best for you.


OBS (see picture above): by clicking on this "pen" that appears next to the "paint can", you can change the description of the place and include comments; by clicking on the photo icon you can add photos (how smart!!); the arrow is for plotting routes (I'll explain it later) and obviously the trash can is for deleting that location from your map.


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps

Note that there is still the option to click on "more icons" and choose the one you prefer (in the example, I looked for the museum icon, which was not among the "popular items" - philosophical reflection passing by, but left out for the sake of objectivity of this post).


Then get to work. One by one, I change the icons of the places on my map, which ends up looking like this:


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps

GROUPING PLACES INTO LAYERS


Next step: I group the activities that I intend to do each day. It also depends on what works best for you or for the the specific trip you are planning, but the general idea is to group according to the proximity or ease of locomotion between one point and another.


At this point, I find very usefull to create layers: one layer for each day. Just click "add layer" and name each new layer a name by clicking on the three dots next to the layer name. You can create as many new layers as you find interesting.


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps

With the new layers created, transfer the locations to their new destination layer; just click on the location name and drag it to the appropriate layer.


If you click on the location icon that appears on the map, the location is automatically selected in the list, this helps you to identify the locations in that region and arrange them in the correct layer.


I like to use different icon colors for each day, which makes it much easier to see the roadmap for each day. I also like to make a layer for the hotel and another for the means of transport (train statios and airports).


The map now looks like this:


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps

It is now quite easy to identify which area of ​​the city we will be in each day, and which places we will visit (or we plan to visit).


The good thing about using layers is that you can hide any of them at any time, and the items on that layer will not appear on your map.


Beawere that you can’t create more than 10 layers. So if you’re planning a more extended trip to a country, it’s better to arrange your places by weeks, or by region, or create multiple maps.


CREATING ROUTES - WALKING, BIKING OR DRIVING


Now is the time to plot the routes.


On the map, click on the starting point for the route. Let's say that on day 1 we want to start ou sightseeing tour at Pont Neuf.


By clicking on the Pont Neuf icon, the box opens, which you already know well by now. Click on the little arrows (between the camera and the trash can - photo below) and a new layer will automatically be created and you will be asked for the destination.


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps


Click on the next destination, you can use a previously listed location or a select new location on the map.


MyMaps defaults to the "driving" mode of transport, so in our example, click on "driving" and choose "walking".


Once this is done, the route between these two points will be traced.


From there, just click on "add destination" and include all destinations for the day, and rearrange the order as you see fit. All of these routes can have max 10 stops/locations.


So there you go, your route has been traced:


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps

Clicking on the three dots next to the route name, you'll see the "step-by-step directions"; click there to see the details of that route.


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps

It gives you the distance and total time of the route traced, and the distance and time of each leg of the route:


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps

Now repeat this for the rest of you planning, and make the necessary adjustments. Of course, changes will occur (especially when we talk about walking itineraries), but you now have an overview of your journey and can assess whether or not what you are planning is feasible.



SHARE WITH YOUR TRAVEL MATES


Now it's time to share the map with your travel mates. Just click on "share" and choose how you will do it. I usually share the link, but you can also leave the map open for anyone to find on the internet.


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps

You can allow those who receive the link to edit the map, which ends up being a super nice tool, as it makes easy to include everyone's tips and recommendations. It becomes a team activity: everyone can participate and give their suggestions - To do this, click on "share on drive", then add the name and email and select “Editor”


how to use Google MyMaps to plan a trip - MyMaps


TAKING ADVANTAGE OF AVAILABLE MAPS ON THE INTERNET


The maps created in MyMaps can be incorporated into websites/blogs (as I did below), so it may be that when you are scouring the blogosphere for tips to your destination, you will find maps like this, made by others. Enjoy, it's a gift they're giving you, free of charge.



By clicking on this icon next to the map author's photo, you can see the list of places, layers, routes etc.


On the share icon you can share the map with whoever you want.


In the icon that looks like a square, next to the share icon, you open the map in MyMaps and, by clicking on the three dots that will appear next to the map's name, you can create a copy in your Google account and there it will be, as long as you don't delete it, to use it as and when you want. You can edit this copy, so if you find a nice map online, you already have the job almost done, you just have to give it your final personal touch.


AT THE END, DON'T FORGET WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT


These are just plans, and plans are made to be changed.


Get off the beaten path, get lost in the alleys, the trails, walk aimlessly.


Are you enjoying a place and want to stay longer? No problem, you're on vacation, it's not just because it's on the route that you're obliged to do it.


Try unmapped restaurants, stop at a street food stand, grab an ice cream if it's hot, or a hot chocolate if it's cold.


Discover a gallery you didn't even know existed, enjoy the view from the viewpoint you thought was no big deal, let the kids play at the millionth playground that popped up on your way.


Vacations, and trips, are short. Make the most of them. But always leave some free time for the unexpected, the creativity, the spontaneity, the unplanned. These are the moments when life happens. Enjoy them!


A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu



AFTER learning how to plan a trip using Google MyMaps,

here's our link to BOOKING.COM- you won't spend a penny making your reservations through this link and it helps us keep this site up and running! Click here and have a good trip!!



NOW PIN THIS TO YOUR PINTEREST ACCOUNT, so you'll always find this post when you need it!

How to plan a trip using Google MyMaps

AFTER ALL THESE TIPS AND INFORMATION, here's our link to BOOKING.COM- you won't spend a penny making your reservations through this link and it helps us keep this site up and running! Click here and have a good trip!!

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