You may already use Google Maps for in your daily life, for driving, going to a restaurant or just checking out somewhere on a map. I use it on a regular basis and it is my absolute life saver at the best of times. I have used it to find a flat in Madrid, to cycle across the Netherlands, know where to go in Berlin when I have no internet and to remember what the office of my job interview looks like in Mallorca.
So I’m gonna share with you the best features of Google Maps and how you can make the most of them when travelling!
Use ‘Saved Places‘ to remember where to go
Saved places (the little stars) are my favourite feature on Google Maps. I have hundreds of them all over Europe. How they work is simple, when you search for a place on Google Maps.
- Search for the place you want to save in your maps.
2. Simply click on the star icon underneath the name and it will be saved to your maps forever (until you ‘un-star’ it)
I used this feature especially a lot when searching for flats when I had multiple places to visit and I would never remember all the addresses. Also useful for anything else such as where you’re staying, the best places to visit, or anything else you want to save!
Download ‘Offline Navigation’ for travelling without 3G
Don’t have internet on your holiday? No worries, you can now download certain areas of Google Maps for free when you have wifi and then use them later. This was particularly important when visiting a city with many small streets which I could never remember. You can still use your GPS without internet, so you’ll know exactly where you are. How can you get lost now!?
Simply search for your destination and then click on ‘download’ underneath the image.
Use ‘Directions’ to know how to get there
I’m sure if you drive you already use ‘Directions’ as a GPS system to know where to go. It also has ‘public transport’ and even ‘walking’ and ‘cycling’ options (I’m in love with the cycling option!) You can check how to get back from the airport, know how far the beach is from your accommodation or how the best cycle route across the city. It even takes traffic and hills into consideration and is constantly up-to-date.
Check out ‘Reviews’ to know the best places to visit
Google reviews are getting right up there with trip advisor. I find Google Reviews much easier to navigate, however, some places aren’t on here yet. Try typing ‘pizza restaurant Palma‘ into Google Maps and you will get a list of different restaurants in that area appearing on the map. This usually includes reviews, phone number and opening times, you can then simply click ‘directions’ and it will tell you how to get there.
View your destination in ‘Street view’ and know what to look for
Street View will show you the way to your destination. Click on the little yellow Pegman in the bottom righthand corner and choose a pin point on the map, you’ll then be taken directly into the street and you can see it as if you were there. Pegman is great and he loves to help people find there way. Sometimes I do this for fun when I don’t have enough money to actually go on holiday, I love to see the different places all over the world.
For example, my job interview, I needed to get there early and I knew I wouldn’t have much time to search for the place. It was also behind the main road, but Pegman helped me by showing my what it looked like before I arrived. Then, on my big day I recognised the surroundings and found it easily, no more ‘Sorry I’m late, I couldn’t find it’!
Extra Tip: Look back on your travel history
Did you know you can also look back on all the places you have visited, just in case you can’t remember. Now Google Timeline tells me everywhere I have been since I was using GPS on my phone and I love to see all the places I’ve been and even which streets I’ve walked down.
When I first discovered timeline, I thought it was a little bit creepy that Google knows everything about where I’ve been, but it’s worth it for remembering everywhere I went to. Sometimes I cannnot remember the name of a bar I visited or what neighbourhood I stayed in, this helps me to keep everything saved and share with friends.
Do you think Google knows too much about us? Do you use the Google Timeline option? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Google Maps!