Not the best with directions or reading maps? Google have come to the rescue with the latest addition to Google Maps called Google My Maps.
You can now pre-plan trips in your Google Drive, save routes and access them later when you're offline or on your mobile device – yeah, we're leaps and bounds past the old mud maps we used to make on brown paper bags.
Plan group trips without the tribulations
Planning trips with friends have been made super simple with Google's new collaborative map-planning tool. Plan out your next beach road trip by labelling points of interest, annotating your maps, colour coding and highlighting specific restaurants or cafes. You can then share your map with your road trip companions so that others can put in the destinations that they want to visit.
Create personal maps with ease
The new features even allow you to create personalised maps based on your favourite coffee spots in the city or where you like going for runs. Add layers to your maps to add directions, draw lines that indicate routes, or colour code different places to represent restaurants offering similar types of food or your friend's addresses. Your maps are all stored conveniently on Google Drive and you can even group them into folders to keep them neatly organised.
There are some great examples of what you can do with your maps in the Maps Gallery. You can create your own or, if you're lazy, just follow a ready-made road trip plan. The Maps Gallery even has maps for the Top 50 places to see celebrities in NYC and Remote Islands of the World.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of Google My Maps.
Search and add specific places and destinations
Plan out every minute of your holiday by using separate layers to differentiate your daily adventures. The bar on the left side of your map will allow you to create ‘layers'. You can also search for your destination and drop a ‘placemark' onto your desired destination. And if you're like me you can rest assured knowing you can keep adding as many as you like on the map.
Recently, my mate visited from across the pond and once I'd hooked him up with an amaysim sim (can you say shameless plug?) I set him up with a personal tour map I'd created by adding multiple destinations to the map of my area. Not only can you search for towns and landmarks, you can also search and add specific places like cafes, museums and hotels.
Annotate your maps
Google My Maps now allows you to add photos, descriptions and websites to your maps. Rather than creating a separate map and itinerary for your trips, you can keep it all in one convenient location. And because you can save the maps so that they're accessible when you're offline, you'll never find yourself stranded in a foreign place searching for your hostel at 1am (well, that might still happen, but you can't blame the technology anymore).
Adding photos and videos is also a great way of keeping a travel journal. It also makes taking your mates through your trip step-by-step really simple. You can even share travel tips and great places to visit with friends who are thinking about going to the same destinations.
Share it around
You'll need a desktop or laptop computer to create the map, but you can use your mobile device to view and edit them. It's easy to share your maps through Facebook, Twitter and Google+, and you can even add people to your Google Drive.
Just getting on there and having a play around with making a few maps is by far the best way to learn the tricks of using Google My Maps. They say change is as good as a holiday and, in this case, planning your dream holiday is the next best thing. So off you go, start mapping!
Seph – amaysim's tech geek