Google Trips allows users to plan routes, notable stops, driving preferences (such as avoiding highways), and many more useful trip details. If you’ve never used Google Trips before or are leery of the technology or features, never fear. Google Trips is easy to use and will help you plan a trip to the Great Lakes or any other ideal vacation to any destination. We’ve put together a primer that will help you get the most out of this tool.
Setting it Up
You can set up Google Maps easily in a matter of minutes. Simply sign in, click the drop-down menu located at the top left of the screen, and select Your Places. From there, select Maps. You’ll see a Create Map option at the bottom of a given list. Once you’ve selected Create Map, simply search for destinations, such as Vista Fleet of Duluth, MN. Each destination will be added directly to your map, so you can travel directly there from any given point. Add your own icons and colors for easy readability.
Mind Your Phone Data
Google Maps lets you save your map or specific sections to view offline. However, it’s best to use the Plan a Trip tool online so you don’t get lost as easily. As much as possible, only use phone data for Google Maps while traveling. Otherwise, you’ll net overage fees that eat into your vacation funds. If you must check email, Facebook, or another social media app, only do so in places offering free Wi-Fi.
When you pin a location on Google Maps, add your own notes so you never forget details about places you’ve been. Have you found a wonderful hole-in-the-wall restaurant? Pin it so you can add it as a feature on the next map you create. Add notes about features you liked, such as your favorite dish or dessert or the cool ambience. The more local places you pin, the more a new city will feel like home. As you become more comfortable with the Plan a Trip tool and the city itself, you’ll feel ready to leave the typical tourist path for more specialized local destinations.
Share With Friends
One of the best things about Google’s Plan a Trip tool is that your maps are shareable. Whenever you have free Wi-Fi, upload your maps to social media and let your friends know what you’ve discovered. This opens up possibilities, as friends may know your destination and have their own tips to offer. The more people know what you’ve enjoyed about a location, the more likely they are to talk about and share it in their own circles. Popular destinations like Duluth will get more traffic, and you will find more attractions, hotels, restaurants, and local hangouts to explore.
Find Places Quickly
Even if you don’t create a map yourself, Google’s Plan a Trip tool is excellent at helping you find your way around a new place. Are you lost on a busy city block? Do you need a meal but aren’t sure what you want to eat? Pull up Google Maps and input your location. A basic map will help you orient yourself or let you know where your best options for an activity, meal, or rest stop are. You can input keywords, like “Mexican food,” “bookstores,” or “aquarium,” to find several specific options.
Plan the Whole Route
Many tourists become frustrated when driving to new places because they aren’t sure how to avoid traffic jams and road construction. Google Maps can help you plan your entire route. Google My Maps, an improvement on Google Maps Classic, lets you find the best route from your starting point to your destination. If you’re visiting multiple sites, choose a large city like Duluth as home base. Then, input different destinations as you come to them. The Plan a Trip app will let you know how long it takes to get somewhere, plus what to avoid in real time (ex.: an unexpected traffic jam or accident on the interstate).