Last Updated on July 15, 2021 by queenie mak
When it comes to travel planning, everyone has their own method of putting together an itinerary. In my earlier travel days, travel guides were my go-to. I would highlight places that I would like to visit and plan my entire trip based on their recommendations. I would even type all the names of different places I’d like to visit and input them into an excel spreadsheet. You’ve got to have an excel spreadsheet if you want to be organized for your trip!
As much as I like having a colourful spreadsheet with all the information on it, it takes a lot of time to put together a comprehensive plan together. And these days, I rely on other sources for my inspiration as well. Between travel blogs, magazines, Instagram, Pinterest and word-of-mouth from other travellers and friends, it is a bit difficult to organize all the information and make it something useful out of it. And chances are, a lot of the information is lost because I wasn’t able to organize the information correctly.
Enters Google Maps and saved pins. I learned this new travel hack (it’s new to me, but I’m sure this feature has been around for a while) through a friend of mine and it has changed the way I plan my trip and how I travel.
Google maps & Saved Pins
Typically, I use Google Maps on my smartphone, as the actual map. Even when it is offline, I can still use it to navigate. The best part about using Google Maps is that the information is almost always updated and it shows you a lot of relevant information about the places you want to visit. And most of all, you don’t need to open one of those big foldable maps and let everyone know you are a tourist and you might be lost!
Moreover, it changed the way I organize all my information and I can plan even more efficiently. As a super-organized person, this is one of the best things I learned about Google Maps and saved pins.
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How you can use this travel hack
This travel hack is great for planning small-scale trips (i.e. plan a day’s worth of activities around all the saved pins) and large-scale trips (i.e. plan an entire trip around all the saved pins).
For small-scale planning, this is an excellent way to plan all your activities for the day. Typically, I would pin places I want to visit and places I want to eat for a particular city. Then I look at the map to determine where all the pins are and group them according to location and proximity to other pins. The grouping of pins is how I decide what I would do for the day. Therefore, I can minimize travel time between places and maximize my actual time to see different sites. I love a travel hack that saves time!
For large-scale planning, this may happen over a period or when you are researching for your next trip. For example, whenever I come across any travel inspirations or start my trip planning, I save a pin for each of the places I want to see on my Google Maps. And over time, I accumulate a lot of pins all over the world. And if there is a particular region or country that has a lot of pins, it means there are a lot of things I want to see and do in that place. So perhaps my next travel destination is where all my pins reside.
How to use google maps and saved pins to plan your trip (using your smartphone)
You can use this travel hack on your smartphone and your computer. Chances are you will be doing most of the planning on your computer while you are at home and some planning on your smartphone while you are on the road.
Here is the detailed instruction on how to plan your trip using your smartphone:
1) Open the Google Maps app on your smartphone.
2) Search for a place either by the search feature (at the top) or manually look through the map and look for the location.
3) Click on the name (the area where it displays the name) or “more info.” It will show you the location name, and other relevant information.
4) Look for “Save”, click it.
5) Another window will pop up and display “Save in your lists”. Click the list you want to save your pin to:
- Want to go
- Starred places
- Or create a new list
- If you use this feature a lot, you might have a lot of the same pins on the same list. I.e. if you pin all the local attractions and restaurants in “want to go,” they will all show up with the same colour pin.
- To differentiate “local attractions” and “restaurants,” you might want to create two lists and name them “local attractions” and “restaurants”. (I started a new list called “eat” in which I save all my pins on that list for all the places I want to eat.)
6) Once your pin is saved in a list, the pin will have a checkmark and displayed as “Saved.”
7) Also, once your pin is saved in a list, the coloured pin will show on your Google Maps.
8) You can edit your pins and lists at any time. The same goes for deleting pins and lists.
How to research and plan your trip on your computer
If you use your computer to do research, you can pin places in your lists on your computer and view them on your smartphone. Please note that you will have to sign in to your Gmail account on both your computer and smartphone for this feature to work.
The instructions for this travel hack are mostly the same on your computer and your smartphone. Follow the instructions above.
Was this helpful to you? It certainly helped me a lot. Let me know what you think and what other travel planning hacks you have! And happy trip planning!!
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