How To Use Google Maps For Trip Planning | Jen Williams | Skillshare

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How To Use Google Maps For Trip Planning

teacher avatar Jen Williams, Travel Expert & Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      2 Using Google Maps for Trip Planning


    • 3.

      Utilizing the Explore Tool


    • 4.

      Using the Save Button


    • 5.

      How to Plan Your Days Away


    • 6.

      How I Use Google Maps


    • 7.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

In this class you will discover why Google Maps should be the number one tool you use to plan your trips. You will determine how you can save both time and money on your trip when you plan your itinerary with this technique travel pros use.

Most people are unaware how valuable Google Maps is when you plan your trip.

These simple techniques will be a game changer to all your future trips. I’ll be going step by step showing you exactly how to use Google Maps to plan and to find unique locations to explore that you may not have found on your regular research. This class is great for the beginner trip planner or someone who wants to build a more efficient itinerary.

In this class you will:

  • Determine how to set up your itinerary so you are not losing money on your trip
  • Be able to quickly pull up the locations you want to see while you're on your trip
  • Discover new locations to see and places to eat that you may not have thought of
  • Establish how the city is laid out before you travel there
  • Identify how you would like to get around the city
  • Discover how I use Google Maps when I'm on my trip

I’ve planned hundreds of trips through my own extensive travels and for clients taking trips around the world. You can say I have been there done that and got the photos to prove it. I’ve traveled to over 80 countries on 6 continents, lived in 4 different countries, solo travelled extensively, I'm a travel photographer, I've worked on cruise ships and for travel companies, and I continue to explore the world with no end in sight. I’ve travelled high end, low end and everything in between.

I started Launch Your Travels to help people plan and take their own trips. I want to share all my travel knowledge so you don’t have to go through all the mistakes I made and spend hours, days and months researching and planning.

Once you know how to plan your trip itinerary like a pro, your stress levels will come down and you'll be more excited and confident to take your trip.

Check out Jen's Website
Subscribe to Jen's YouTube Channel

Meet Your Teacher

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Jen Williams

Travel Expert & Photographer


Hi guys, I'm Jen.

I'm a travel expert and travel photographer who is on a mission to help people travel and explore the world on their own terms, like I do. 

I started Launch Your Travels to help people plan and take their own trips. I have a passion for travel I want to share all my travel knowledge so you don’t have to go through all the mistakes I made and spend hours, days and months researching and planning.

Photography is my other passion. I've been a photographer for over 20 years and have had the privilege to work in many different genres of photography. Travel photography has given me a way to blend my two passions in such a wonderful way. I have been specializing in it for over 5 years and I can't see any end to it.  ... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hello, and welcome to how to use Google Maps for a trip planning. Hi there, my name is Jen and I am the owner of lunch. He travels where I show people how to plan and take their own trips. I have a little experience with travel, having explored over 80 countries on six continents. I've lived in four different countries. I've solo traveled for over two years. I've worked on cruise ships. I'm a travel photographer and I've worked with in the travel industry for over 20 years. Google Maps is the number one tool. I use it when I'm both planning and taking my trip. But most people are unaware of how valuable this tool is when you're planning your trip. In this course, you will determine how you can save both time and money on your itinerary while making the most of your trip. These simple techniques will be a game changer for all your future trips. I'll be going through step-by-step, showing you exactly how I use it to plan and to find unique locations to explore that you may not have found on your regular research. This course is for people who are familiar with Google Maps and want to learn the techniques a travel Pro uses to create amazing itineraries. I'm excited to show you all my tips and techniques. So comment, join me inside. 2. 2 Using Google Maps for Trip Planning: Using Google Maps for trip planning is one of my favorite tricks when I create trip plans. Not only will it save you both time and money on your trip, but it will also help you become more familiar and comfortable using Google Maps. Plus, it will help you understand the locations you're visiting better by seeing the mode of transportation available and the layout of the city. I will show you the explorer button first, and then I'll go over how to use the Save button. And then I'll explain to you the exact process I use to plan out itineraries. Let's get started. 3. Utilizing the Explore Tool: The explorer button is located on the bottom left corner of the screen. Now you can use this function in two different ways. First, you can use it in the location you are at. In that moment. This makes it super handy when you are somewhere new and are looking for something specific. Second, you can use this for research for your future travels. Well, start with using it in the location you are at. Now, when you hit the explorer button, it will pull up information around you. Depending on how much information Google has on a particular location, will determine what and how much shows up here. Each place will be different. So say you're in a new city and you want to find a grocery store or a pharmacy or restaurant near you. Up at the top you have your quick access menu that you can tap into the category you are looking for. Or you can scroll across them any bar and press more. And it'll pull up all the categories that you can choose from. I'm going to look for a grocery store, so I'm just going to tap into the quick menu. And it will pull up a list of all the grocery stores that are around me. Each location in this list is going to show you some basic information. First is the name, the star rating, how far away it is. And if the information is available, it will tell you that open and close times. Now you want to be aware that the opening close times that are listed here are not always correct. If your concerns, you want to make sure that you go to the direct website of the place you're going to. In this search tool, you can add filters to narrow down the list. Up the top here you can tap open now, and it will only show you grocery stores that are open now. You can also hit top rated. So ones that have higher ratings than others. When you do tap these two at the top, they will stay on until you tap them off. They'll show up in blue when you have tapped them on. You can also tap into more filters. And you can choose any of those filters as well. When you tap into a specific story you want more information about. It will pull up all the information that it has in the overview is going to give you a lot of information. They'll give you the address, the open and close times. You can also tap down and look at the hours for every day of the week. They'll give you their phone number. You can tap that and it'll pull up where you can call it directly from your phone. It will give you their website. You just have to tap the link and it'll take you directly to their website. And then it'll also give you popular times. It will also tell you how long people typically spend here. So information about the store. And then once you scroll, it'll do the reviews. Can also tap the reviews to get directly into the reviews. And you can tap into the photos and you can scroll through all the different photos. You can also sort the photos by the menu at the top here. And then you also have about, so this will tell you about the actual place and you just head back to the overview. And then below that you also have directions. So you can tap that and it'll take you to your directions map. If you press the start, you will take you directly to your map with the start are depressed. He also have a call button there, and then you also can save it as well. Now, each place will have slightly different information depending on what is available. At the top of the screen. You can also share this location with others by tapping the square with an up arrow. Then you just have to choose who you want to send it to. And by what means the three dots beside the share icon, tap that and it'll pull up another menu. Now if you close out of the grocery store list, just X out of there, x out of the groceries. You can pull up the explorer screen at the bottom. The first thing you can do is beside the Explorer where it says here downtown Vancouver, you can press that little arrow on the right-hand side. This will pull up popular areas nearby for you to look into further. You can tap out of here. And then it's going to give you more shortcuts to different categories that you can tap into and pull up different lists. So you can scroll them to the side. And it'll give you different lists to look at. Below those, you have featured lists. These are super cool when they are available as they pull up recent information on a number of different topics. Now, not every city is going to have them. It just depends on how big the city is and how much information is available. These are great to find out super relevant things that you may not know about. Can you tap into trending weekly here? This is where everyone's eating and drinking right now. So this is updated weekly and I'll give you great ideas for relevant, popular places to go that locals are going to, to get out of here, you just press the back button and they'll have all different types of categories that you can tap into. You can find more of these lists by tapping on the links below the few suggested ones on mine, I have food and drink and city guides. It's a great way to find some hidden gems in the places that you're going to. Now below that you're going to find photos. So this is photos of. The location where you're at. And you can scroll through and narrow them down. And you'll get super relevant photos as well, because as you'll see on here, but you get very up-to-date information. You can also pull down the Explorer and it'll show you where those places are with a pitcher on the map. Get out of here, you just press the back button and then down at the bottom here is other local areas. Now I just want to show you that in smaller cities and areas you may not have all this information. When I go to a smaller city, when I pull up the Explore screen, I have category suggestions and then only photos as my information here. Next, let's go over how to use the explorer tool for your research. All the techniques we learned in the previous section will be used in this module as well. With just a few tweaks. You can explore the city you are going to by typing in the city in the search bar. So once you type in Paris, France, it'll pull up the location on the map. Then you just scroll up the bottom explore area. And it will give you all the information that we were shown in the last section. This one also has iconic Paris, so it's going to give you iconic places in Paris that you can look up. And then it has your categories. It has different suggestions here. And then this also has a features list. And below that they have three icons that you can get more information. You have food and drink, things to do. And city guides, looking through these lists, they're going to give you some great ideas on different things that you may not have thought of. Now you can also explore specific places you are looking to visit. So I can tap in here the LUV and tap that. And as you'll see below the search bar, you can also see nearby museums can tap that. And it's going to pull up that list, which is a great way to find some unique museums to go to. Now, pull up the Explore tab. And again, it's going to show you a number of different things. There's a couple of things that I really want to point out in this 1. First, this one has updates. This is where you'll be able to find any updates provided by the Louvre Museum, a directory of things around the loop. Now, when we go back to overview, There's a couple of things I want to point out to you. One is the popular times. This is a really great for planning your trip because you can scroll through and see when it is at its most busy, then you can plan your visit to here strategically, so you are at the least busy time. And then you can also scroll through here, and it will give you all the days of the week. And below that, it gives you a handy little guide for nearby stations. So you can just scroll through those. And then it has the latest photos. And these are all done within the last handful of days. Looking these things up on Google Maps that lets you find things you may not know about. You can also see what is popular in real time and get really good suggestions on where to eat and places to explore. Now it's your turn to practice. On the home screen. You want to tap the Explorer. You want to tap into restaurants on the quick menu. Scroll through your options and have a look around. Next, you want to X out of this by maxing out on the search bar. And then you want to scroll through the quick menu to the More button you want to tap into that. Tap a category that interests you. Scroll through your options and Taba place that you want to look up, read the information about this place, and then tap directions. Tap your mode of transportation to bring up your route. Now pause this video and follow the directions. 4. Using the Save Button: Using the Save button will save you loads of time looking for the information when you need it. You can easily pull up the locations you've saved. And it is a great way to determine that the area you want to stay in and how to plan your days away, maybe time and money. I'm going to show you how to use the Save button. And then I'm going to go into how to plan your trip using these techniques. Now the save button is super easy to use. Whenever you look something up, either through the search bar or through the explore tools, you can just tap to save. And I'm going to show you. So in here I'm going to type in the London, I tap that and then you just pull up the Explorer and then you just tap the Save. By default it will have four lists, titles in their favorites, want to go labeled, and starred places. I would highly suggest that you start a new list for each city you are going to visit. This way, you have everything organized and easily found in one spot. To create a new list. You just press new list, give it a name. I keep my lists as private. And you can always change this at a later date. Press Create. So this is my London list here. In here you're also able to add notes to all of your saved items. So you just have to press Add a note under the location that you're wanting to add a note to. And you can put anything in here. I'm going to put tickets, purchase PM. And this way it just keeps you a little bit more organized to retrieve your saved options I have to do is tap into the save icon at the bottom of the main Google Maps page. And it'll show you your recently saved items. And then you can also go into specific lists that you've made as well. You can also share your list. This makes it super handy when you're traveling with others and want to collaborate on the map. Or if you just want to give them the list for reference as well. Now, depending on if you want them to edit it or not, you can turn this on. And that will allow them to edit or modify the list. Or you can leave that off and no one can edit it. And then just press Continue and choose who you're going to send it to it. And by what means when you're in your list, there are three dots up at the top. You can tap those and pull up a menu in here. This is where you can delete any lists that you don't want anymore. But I personally like keeping my lists and I don't delete them because it's a great way to remember the names of the places I went to. And it is also a great way to easily give suggestions to friends and family traveling to the same places. All you have to do is share your list with them. Anytime you are in the Explore tool, you're able to save a very easily. So if I go into any of these lists, I'll go into this one here, eating in London. And then once I come across one that I want to save, I just hit the little save icon and put it in a list that I want and press Done. And then I can continue to do that until I'm finished. 5. How to Plan Your Days Away: Next I'm going to show you how to use Google Maps for trip planning purposes when you plan your trip this way, this is where you will be able to save time from not traveling back and forth across town. And that will also save you money if you're taking transportation. Now, you want to have other locations in eateries that you're thinking of visiting in your saved list. Remember to have a new list for each city you plan on going to make it easier to locate things. There are a number of different benefits to using Google Maps for part of your trip planning. First, it will show you the options you have to get around to the different places you want to see. Then it will also help you plan how far away things are. This will help you manage your time better throughout your trip. It can assist you in choosing your accommodation by seeing how far away it is compared to the places you want to see. It will also help you determine an approximate time you will arrive at your accommodation from the train or airport. And it will also save you time a while on your trip when you know where and how far away all the sites aren't you want to see? I prefer to do this stage on my desktop as it is easier to see everything on a larger screen. So I'm going to demonstrate it on my desktop so you can see exactly how I do it. Now, everything you have saved on your phone will be able to be pulled up on your desktop computer. You just need to log into your account if you haven't already on your computer. Now, first you want to head over to Google Maps and you want to pull up your list. So you just want to go over to the hamburger bar menu, which is these three lines over on the left-hand side. Tap into that. And then you want to go down to your places. You want to click that. And you want to click into saved. And then you want to pick the trip that you are wanting to pull up. I want the Paris trip. And now this will pull up all the locations that are on your list onto the map. Now I'm going to scroll in. So I'm just going into the city of Paris. So all of your locations are represented by the turquoise pins with a square in the middle. There are also other turquoise pins that have different icons in the middle. Those are usually places of interest. But you want to just focus on the ones with the square in the middle. When you do roll over the location on the left-hand list, the pin on the map will show up red. When you pull up all of your locations, you want to first look at the map and see where things are near each other. I then write these groupings down and add them to my day trip. This weight, you're not traveling back and forth across town, going to the different places that are very far away. So if I scroll in here, Let's see There's a nice grouping reading here. So these things are all very close to each other. So what I would do is I would write these down on a piece of paper or on a Google Doc. And I would put that into one specific day of my trip. You want to take into account how long you expect to spend in each of these places. So you can determine how many places you can hit up each day. I usually like to recommend no more than three things per day, but this isn't including eateries. So you want to discontinue going around all of the different pins and seeing which ones you can group together and inputting those into specific days of your trip. When you have all your days laid out, you can then decide how you're going to get to each place by using the directions tool. I like to use my accommodations address as my starting point. And then I put in the locations per day and connect all the dots. I'm going to go through an example here. Okay, so if you press back or a knee, press X out of here, you come to the Directions page. So first you want to input the address of your accommodation. So it'll take you there. It's represented by the red pin. And then you want to press directions. Now, it'll automatically start with how to get to your accommodations. So I want to change that. I just press three, the two arrows and that'll reverse that. And then I want to start typing in the groupings for one day. So I have Pantheon. Now one thing to keep in mind, you want to be in either the walking mode or the driving mode. If you are in the transit mode, you won't be able to add more destinations. Then you just press Add a destination and you pick the next thing on your list. As you can see, I have all of the things that I want to do in this one day. The handy thing about doing it in the directions mode is being able to move around to see what is the best sequence of going to each place up here is where my accommodation is. And then if I traveled down here, let cuisine Paris would be the first stop, but that is where I'm doing a cooking course at night, so that's going to be my last stop. So I have that as my last stop. Now, the next thing that I would come across is Notre DOM. So let's put Notre DOM as my first destination. And I see a Shakespearian company is quite close there, so I think I'm going to move that up to after Notre DOM. And then I have a choice here where I can either go for a lunch first and then go to the Pantheon on or I can do lunch after. But since I know I'm going to a cooking class that night, I'm going to do lunch a little bit earlier today, so I'm going to go to the restaurant that I want to check out. After Shakespeare and Company. You then continue to organize the rest of your day. Now, you don't have to plan out all of your activities or eateries, nor you don't have to follow this exact plan or when you're away. But this will give you great guidance when you want it on your trip. When you use Google Maps for part of your trip, research and planning, it will help you get familiar using the app prior to leaving. Now, this is important because you don't want to have to try and remember how to use it in already unfamiliar location. The other reason I love using the app for this is it gets me acquainted with how the city is laid out and the types of transportation available here. It lets me know how far away things are, how long it will take to get around. And I can have an idea on how I wanted to explore the city. 6. How I Use Google Maps: I want to share with you how I like to use Google Maps in a new city. When I went to explore new place, I decide on an end destination to go to, usually an attraction, store or neighborhood. And I input that into Google Maps. I use the walk mode and press go. I start walking along my route. If I see an interesting Street along the way that is not on my route, I go up the street and explore. Or I sit in a cool-looking cafe or a duck into a beautiful shop, knowing that I can always get back on my route by following the blue dot back to the dotted line root. I can also explore other streets and then look at the map and see where they intersect with my main route to get back on track. This way, you can explore places in areas that you wouldn't have known about or even read about and find some very unique experiences and feel much more like a local. It is great to sprinkled in with the usual tourist areas. 7. Final Thoughts: Congratulations on completing how to use Google Maps, afford trip planning. You are now well on your way to creating a killer itinerary. Come back and re-watch any parts you need a refresher on. Make sure that you carve out some time in your schedule, plan your itinerary, using these techniques to ensure it is the best trip ever. Submit your project and any questions you may have and I'll get back to you if you are looking for more travel, advice, inspiration, small group tours, and free tools to make traveling easier for you. Check out my website at a launcher, and come join my Facebook group, travel 101.