How to Use Google Maps Trip Planner in 2024 (6 Easy Steps)

keyKey Takeaways:
  • Google My Maps can help you plan a travel itinerary with a multi-stop route plan.
  • It offers real-time traffic information, alternative routes, and step-by-step driving directions.
  • Inaccuracies and the number of stops are some disadvantages of using Google Maps.
  • In case you have more number of stops, switching to a route planner could be an ideal option.

If you’re looking to plan a trip solo or with friends, having a reliable trip planner can make all the difference. Why not take that trip with Google Maps? When you want to fulfill your traveling goals but don’t know how to reach your destination, Google Maps could be your perfect trip planner.

Google Maps is accessible from anywhere and it helps you organize your itinerary. So, if you are the type of person who likes to travel frequently, Google Maps Trip Planner has got your back covered.

In this blog, we will discuss how to organize a trip using Google Maps along with its pros and cons.

How Google Maps App Helps You Plan a Travel Itinerary?

Google Maps is best used for adventure trips to find a number of stops located in-between the route. It helps you find related information and the time taken to reach the destination. Also, it gives you multiple routes to reach the desired location along with the live traffic on the road.

Using Google Maps, the user simply needs to enter an address on the map search bar and it will assist you to get there by offering step-by-step driving directions. When you create a map on Google Maps, you will know about the rest stops, toll roads, or hotels availability.

Moreover, it allows the user to apply color coding on multiple attractions meaning you will find it easier to differentiate all of them. For instance, let’s say you generated a new google map where you have multiple attractions like churches, beaches, and restaurants. These attractions can be marked in different colors of your choice.

How to Create a Trip Plan On Google Maps [Step-by-step Guide]

Below is the step outline to create your own map with the help of Google Maps.

Step 1: Open Google Maps

Firstly, you need to log in with your Google account to let Google Maps know the user profile. Then, to create an untitled map, go to Saved > Maps > select the ‘CREATE MAP’ button from the bottom of a pop-up window. In this process, you will automatically get redirected to Google My Maps.

Step 1

Step 2: Add location pins

Now, you can add location markers or location pins in Google My Maps by selecting the location name from the dropdown menu to find the exact address. Or else, you can add locations to lists by entering latitude and longitude from the pin icon. Google My Maps also gives you the functionality to add layer for several separate lists of locations to the same map by clicking on “Add layer.”

Step 2

Step 3: Customize pins by changing icons

After selecting the address, Google My Maps will then mark it with a green location pin. At this point, you can customize the pin by tapping the edit button (pencil icon). Then, as soon as you complete the location searches and click the save button, the location marker will change its color based on category. For example, you can color-code restaurants coming on your way.

Step 3

Step 4: Review your customized route map

Next, you should review the route plan to double-check trip itineraries if the multiple stops are added or not. Also, make sure your route plan has the list of the best possible routes as per the desired time window. In case you are okay to go ahead with a route plan, go to access the route directions from the left hand corner.

Step 4

Step 5: Access driving directions

Since now you are all set with a travel plan, access the map on your personal device and click on the ‘Get directions’ arrow icon. It will display the navigation along with the route details. You can follow the step-by-step driving directions layer as per Google Maps and reach your destination spot.

Step 5

Step 6: Share it with your travel buddies

Traveling with someone? You can share your custom Google map with each other. Google My Maps also allows the user to share a route map with friends and acquaintances. So, if you have a large group of travelers, everyone will be updated at the same time and find it easier to reach the destination. To do so, you can click on the share button from the options menu.

 Step 6

So, now you know how to use Google My Maps using this step guide. Let us move on to find out why it’s not reliable for a long time.

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Reasons Why Google Maps Is the Most Preferred Trip Planner?

If you are still wondering why Google Maps is the first pick of most travelers, here is why.

1. Helps you plan a road trip itinerary

It doesn’t matter if you aim for a long-haul journey or a short trip to a nearby location; you can rely on Google My Maps to plan your road trip Itineraries.

Here are some tips for road trip planning with the Google Maps trip planner:

  • Efficiently organize and visualize your itinerary by creating a layer for each stop using the Google Maps Trip Planner. 
  • Add pins to ensure you don’t miss any points of interest.
  • Use Google Maps Lists to research and save points of interest, making the most of your journey. 
  • Include hotels along your route for impromptu stops if needed.
  • Identify gas stations and rest areas along your route.
  • Locate and book accommodations in advance with Google Maps.
  • Share your road trip plans with fellow travelers, enabling collaboration and adjustments in real-time using Google Maps.

2. Easy access while traveling

Unlike paper maps, you can plan a trip with Google Maps very conveniently, as you can access or download Google Maps while you are on the move. So, once you are ready with your road trip map, you can keep Google Maps open and follow the routes.

Also, it gives you an option to use the offline maps, including significant details like approx. time, turning points, and remaining distance. The best way to access offline maps is by using the Google Earth app. Additionally, you also have an option of Google Drive. You can safeguard your travel plan by uploading your map on Google Drive and accessing it later from anywhere.

3. Provides efficient routes

No matter how far your destination is, Google Maps helps you discover cost-effective routes in seconds. Its travel planning process includes road constraints like restricted zones, traffic congestion, and sites under construction. Following Google-approved maps, you are likely to reach the destination without spending much time on the road.

4. Reviews and Additional location data of multiple locations

Google Maps not only offers basic information but also keeps you well-informed about selected locations. You can:

  • Access user reviews and ratings for insights into the experiences of others.
  • Explore details about costs, availability, and estimated arrival times, assisting in your decision-making process.
  • View pictures uploaded by the owner or visitors directly on the mapping platform, giving you a visual preview of the location.
  • Enhance the community by adding your photos using the camera icon, sharing your unique perspective on the places you visit.

Google Maps ensures you have comprehensive information, allowing you to make informed choices, plan your visits, and enjoy a well-rounded trip experience.

5. Customizable Google Map

The popular mapping platform, Google Maps, is open for its users to personalize their own custom map by customizing the changes and adding additional notes to each location. 

To add a personalized note or label to Google Maps you just have to:

  • Launch the Google Maps app and find the location on the map where you want to add a personalized note.
  • Long-press on the location or click on the map to drop a pin.
  • Once the pin is dropped, click on it to reveal the location details.
  • Look for the “Add a note” or “Add a label” option and click on it.
  • Type in your personalized note and save your note to attach it to the location.

Additionally, you can apply a color code using the Paint Bucket tool and different direction icons to your generated route map. For example, you can put on the dot icon for hotel rooms or resorts according to your wish.

6. Automatically gets connected to other Google Apps

Being a Google User, you would have different Google Apps on your smartphone. Such Apps will automatically sync with the mapping platform which means you can access information on any other app or device. In short, you can have seamless integration with Google-based applications to access the route plan. Since you have the Google Maps app downloaded, it will keep other Google tools updated.

Limitations of Google Maps For Multi-stop Trip Planning

Google Maps is an amazing road trip planning tool for organizing an adventurous trip but it won’t be a long-term option if you use it for daily purposes or for delivery services. It is said because of the below-mentioned downsides.

1. Inaccuracy

One of the biggest cons of Google Maps travel planning tool is that the generated routes may not be the most efficient routes. You might get an inaccurate stop location using the Google Trip Planner method. It may not consider your specific requirements if you want to include the toll booths or not. Apart from that, the information provided on Google Maps, such as distance, time, and working hours, could be incorrect.

2. One can only include 9 additional stops

Since Google is not the best for route planning and optimization, it would only allow you to add limited stops. Hence, Google users can add a maximum of 10 stops while planning a route map. It means creating a route for multiple trips on Google My Maps could be a waste of time. So, you should opt for other routing software to carry out such tasks.

3. Navigation accessibility

Google My Maps is built for the user to customize the trip by adding different icons and a color code. However, accessing navigation from the downloaded Google Maps is not that easy. This is because the directions layers takes longer than usual to display on the screen. Thus, you might get frustrated using the Google-powered navigation app on your mobile.

Next, let us know what could be the alternative to the Google Maps trip planner.

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Why Should You Make a Switch?

Here are the five reasons why you should switch to the right trip planner.

  • Google Maps usually takes more time to find the best routes and therefore, you should use online route planners like Upper instead of using the Google navigation app.
  • It doesn’t have the option for its user to open a route map in their desired mapping platform. So, to wrap up the optimization task quickly you will need routing software.
  • Switching to the proper route planner, you can add hundreds of stops, which Google My Maps can’t do.
  • The right routing software will never take you through the bad roads like Google Maps as it considers all road constraints.
  • Accessing your route plans is easier on the route planner app in comparison to Google’s navigation app as it automatically syncs with the web app.

We recommend you book a demo at Upper to know how the online route generator comes out to be on the top. 

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FAQs

When planning a city trip using Google Maps Trip Planner, consider these tips:

  • Identify and mark key attractions and landmarks as the foundation of your itinerary.
  • Utilize Google Maps Lists to categorize places of interest based on preferences.
  • Check and incorporate public transportation options for seamless travel between locations.
  • When planning for a multi-day stay, consider creating a layer for each day and pinning activities for every single day accordingly.
  • For one-day adventures, use layers for different activity types, adding spots as you go.
  • Download offline maps for areas with limited connectivity.

Google My Maps stands out as a more advanced and customizable tool for personalized map creation. It offers features like custom layers, routes, and the ability to add detailed categories, enhancing the planning experience.

On the other hand, Google Maps Lists are simpler. It provides curated collections of places with basic information such as location name, address, reviews, operating hours, and type.

While convenient for sharing recommendations, Lists may become overwhelming if you add too many places. It lacks the organizational capabilities offered by My Maps.

Yes, directions layers on Google Maps help navigate by showing various routes, modes of transport, and estimated travel times.

Indeed, Google Trips used to be a dedicated app, but it was redirected to Google Travel after it shut down in 2019.

While there isn’t a standalone mobile app for Android or iOS, you can access comprehensive trip planning features through the Travel web app on the official website.

Google Travel allows you to:

  • Explore popular destinations
  • Check plane ticket costs and average hotel room prices
  • Research top sites, hotels, rentals, flights, and more
  • Save destinations and add them to your travel plans

Despite the shift from a standalone app, Google continues to offer robust trip-planning capabilities. It ensures you can efficiently plan and organize your travels directly through the web app.

Certainly! It’s possible to create or edit maps on your phone. However, it’s important to note that you’ll need to use your mobile browser for these tasks, as the functionality isn’t available within the Google Maps app itself.

You have to navigate to the “Saved” tab through your browser to access saved maps and lists.

In the Google Maps trip planner, there is a maximum limit of 10 layers. Additionally, each map can accommodate up to 2,000 separate pins. It’s advisable to carefully plan out your layers or categories, especially for extensive and complex trips.

Your Google account seamlessly links various products to enhance trip planning:

  • Create a custom map and save it to Google Drive for easy access.
  • Collaborating on Google My Maps with shared access.
  • Organize your daily agenda with precise locations in Google Calendar.
  • Organize Photos with Google Photos: Organize photos in a better way by adding location names in Google Photos for easy retrieval.
  • Use Google Sheets for effective vacation or road trip budgeting.

These integrations streamline your trip planning and contribute to a seamless and enjoyable travel experience.

Yes, Google Maps allows you to create an itinerary using the Google My Maps platform. It helps you plan and organize your trips by adding multiple destinations, creating routes, and storing places of interest.

In Google Maps, follow these steps to create an itinerary:

Step-1: On your computer or mobile device, open Google Maps.

Step-2: Log in to your Google account.

Step-3: In the upper left corner, select the “Menu” icon (three horizontal lines).

Step-4: Choose “Saved” and then “Maps.”

Step-5: Click on “Create Map” and give your trip a title and a description.

Step-6: Begin adding locations by searching for them in the search bar or pinning them on the map.

Step-7: Add details to each location, including the name, address, and any notes or comments.

Step-8: As you move along, save your progress.

No, Google doesn’t provide a specific travel itinerary template. However, you can create your own customized itinerary using Google Maps. By adding locations, routes, and other information, you can create your own personalized trip itinerary.

It’s easy to save your itinerary once you’ve finished creating it on Google Maps. Simply choose the bookmark icon or “Save” button in the map editor. Your itinerary will be saved to your Google account, and you can access it later on from the “Saved” section of Google Maps.

Follow these steps to share your Google itinerary with others:

Step-1: Open Google Maps and go to your route.

Step-2: Select “Share” from the menu.

Step-3: Choose a sharing option, such as social media, email, or a link.

Step-4: Enter the recipients’ email addresses or select them.

Step-5: Customize the message as needed.

Step-6: Send the recipients the invitation or a link.

To find your Google itinerary, you can follow these steps:

Step-1: On your computer or mobile device, open Google Maps.

Step-2: Log in to your Google account.

Step-3: In the upper left corner, select the “Menu” icon (three horizontal lines).

Step-4: Choose “Saved” and then “Maps.”

Step-5: You’ll see a list of the maps you’ve saved, along with your itinerary. Click on it to open and view the details.

To create a custom map, simply open Google Maps. There, go to menu (three horizontal lines) located in the upper left corner. From the menu, click on the “Saved” option and toggle to the “Maps” tab. Thereafter, click on ‘CREATE MAP’ to create a new map.

To break your trip down into layers or categories using google maps, follow these steps:

  • Launch the Google Maps app on your device or access it through your web browser.
  • If you’re using the web version, click on the menu icon (three horizontal lines) in the top left corner and select “Saved.” For mobile, tap on the “Saved” tab.
  • Click or tap on the “Maps” tab and then “Create Map” (web) or tap the “+” icon and select “Create Map” (mobile).
  • Provide a name for your map, and if needed, add a description.
  • Click or tap on “Add Layer.” Each layer can represent a different aspect of your trip, such as days, cities, or specific interests.
  • Customize each layer by naming it and choosing different colors or icons for effective categorization.
  • Use the “Saved” tab to organize, edit, or add more layers as needed. Edit pins to include additional information like notes or details.
  • If traveling with others, share the map for collaboration. Click or tap on the “Share” button to generate a link or invite collaborators directly.

You can design your ideal vacation effortlessly with the Google Maps trip planner by leveraging the following features:

  • Access detailed destination information to making well-informed travel decisions.
  • Customize your trip by adding destination points, color-coding locations, and utilizing layers, pins, and notes.
  • Integrate seamlessly with other Google products for streamlined and efficient planning.
  • Stay informed with real-time traffic updates, weather forecasts, and points of interest.
  • Collaborate with fellow travelers in real-time.
  • Download offline maps for navigation in remote areas with weak internet connections.

The Upper Route Planner is considered the best routing software for route planning and optimization. It not only allows you to plan routes but also helps you find the exact location considering the road constraints.

Google Maps is popular among daily commuters for organizing a single trip, whereas Upper is the first choice routing software for delivery business owners as it does both route planning and optimization with unlimited stops. Hence, it proves that Upper has an edge over Google Maps app.

Final Thoughts

We understood that Google Maps functionality helps the user to organize a trip by knowing the time of trip and distance to be covered. But at the same time, the Google-based navigation app also offers limited features which may hamper your trip planning process. 

And this is why you might feel like switching from Google Maps to the right road trip planner. A proper trip route planner has a variety of features like planning routes, setting priority routes, street views for maps, and editing stops.

So, next time if you are up for a future trip, choose the better trip planning options to plan routes. Meanwhile, you can sign up for free on Upper to explore what it has in store for you.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.

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