Google Maps is an incredibly useful tool for planning trips. Not only does it allow you to see a map of your destination, but it also provides detailed information about specific areas and attractions.

In this guide, we will show you how to use Google Maps to create a complete trip itinerary. We'll walk you through the steps involved in creating a custom map, adding destinations and attractions, and more. Let's get started!

What is A Travel Itinerary?

If you've ever been on a long trip, you know that one of the most important things is to plan your itinerary. You need to know where you're going and how to get there, or else you'll end up wasting a lot of time.

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trip planning with google map

A travel itinerary is a detailed plan of your entire journey. It includes all the places you'll visit, what activities you'll do at each location, how long you'll stay in each place, and more.

Just as a map is essential for a road trip, a travel itinerary is essential for a vacation. By plotting out each step of the journey in advance, travelers can avoid getting lost, missing important landmarks, and making wrong turns.

Similarly, a travel itinerary helps to ensure that travelers make the most of their time by planning for activities, attractions, and dining options.

By taking the time to create a detailed itinerary, travelers can avoid wasting time on vacation and can instead focus on creating lasting memories.

What Makes An Itinerary a Good One?

When it comes to planning a trip, there are a lot of different factors to consider. So, what makes a good itinerary? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Make sure it's realistic.

Remember, you can't do everything in one trip. So, sit down and figure out what your priorities are, and then plan your itinerary accordingly. Don't try to pack too much into one day or one week. You'll just end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.

Be flexible.

While it's important to have a plan, you also need to be willing to adjust it as necessary. If you find that you're not enjoying yourself or that something isn't working out the way you'd hoped, don't be afraid to make changes on the fly. After all, this is supposed to be a fun experience!

Do your research.

Before you finalize your itinerary, take some time to research multiple locations available to you. Read online reviews and testimonials, talk to friends and family who have been there before, and check out travel guidebooks. This will help ensure that you're making the best choices for your trip.

Also, be sure to include your flight info, backup plans, and other important information.

Have fun!

Ultimately, the best itinerary is the one that YOU enjoy. So, go ahead and plan something that sounds fun and exciting to you. It doesn't matter if it's "traditional" or "original." If it sounds like something you'll enjoy, then go for it!

Creating Your Perfect Travel Itinerary with Google Maps

Itinerary planning can be a ton of fun, but it's also one of the most overwhelming processes. There are so many different things to think about when making your next big adventure happen - where should I stay? How many days, what mode of transportation should I take??!! 

It seems impossible sometimes! That's why we're going over an underappreciated tool that makes this whole process easier and more enjoyable than ever before: Google Maps.

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Google Maps trip planning

The best part is that it's free, accessible to anyone with a computer and smartphone, and it's simple to use once you know the basics.

Whether you want to use this tool as your vacation itinerary planner, a trip route planner on a road trip, or just as a way to save ideas for a future adventure, Google Maps is your best friend for planning your next trip.

Create Your First Google Map

Creating your own Google Map is easy and only takes a few minutes!

To get started, open Google maps or visit this link and sign in to your Google account. Then, click on the hamburger menu in the top left-hand corner and select “Your Places” from the dropdown.

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Click "Your Places" in Google map

Now, you're probably wondering how to create your own map. Well, it's easy! Just click on the "Create Map" button on the Google Maps screen.

Click "Create Map"

Finally, click on the three dot icon beside "Untitled Map" and give your map a name and description. Voila, you're all set!

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Rename your map title

Select Categories for Your Google Itinerary

A well-planned trip starts with a solid outline, which includes dividing your desired destination into categories. This will help you focus your inspiration and come up with a realistic itinerary.

This way, you can gather your inspiration more easily and color-code each item as you input it, instead of organizing later on.

Then, collect all of the different places you want to go on your trip. Are you looking for a city break or a beach holiday? Do you want to go somewhere exotic or visit a well-known tourist destination? Your interests must inform the categories you and your travel buddies choose for any maps.

In Google maps, here are some example of categories you can use:

  • Sites and attractions
  • Hotels
  • Photography spots
  • Towns
  • Shopping
  • Food and drink

Remember though that Google Maps only allows 10 layers per map, so limit your categories to 10 as well.

To add your categories, click on "Add Layer" and then name that new “Untitled Layer” with your category of choice.

Add layers to your new map

Add your must-see destinations onto your map

Once you have an idea of the type of trip you want to take, start gathering inspiration for your destination. Look at travel blogs, Google Reviews, Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts to get ideas for things to see and do. Once you have a list of places that interest you, add them to your map.

Search for the exact location in the map search bar

To add a location (i.e. museum) to the map, type in the name into the search bar and hit enter. When it appears on the menu, click “Add to Map”. In this step, you can also begin to add hotels that are close to the city you're staying.

Click "Add to Map"

The location also has a description box where you can add important details you want to remember. In this example, we've added "No admission fees" for a popular spot in South Korea.

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Click the pencil icon to add description to the location

You can also add other notes, such as "Closed on Mondays" or "bring cash" for a popular restaurant or even include a budget to know how much you will spend.

Add other important notes

Customize your location markers

Now that you've added all your locations to the map, it's time to start customizing! There are several options available, including changing colors and adding icons, notes, videos, and images. You can do all of this using the buttons on the bottom of each location marker's pop-up box.

You can add icons, images, videos, directions, and more

Changing the color of a location marker is a great way to highlight important locations or make them stand out from the rest. To change the color of a marker, simply click on click on the paint bucket icon that comes up at the bottom of the location marker’s pop-up window.

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Change the color code of location pins

A priority system can also help you get the most out of your trip. By labeling "things I must see" in green, "places I want to visit" in yellow, and "things to see if I have time" in orange, you can ensure that you don't miss the sights that are most important to you.

If you want to add an icon to a location, click on the "Add Icon" button and choose from a wide variety of icons. You can also add notes, videos, and images by clicking on the "Add Note," "Add Video" or "Add Image" buttons.

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Change icon of the location pins

Once you've finished customizing your map, it's time to save it. Now, you’ll have all the information you need right at your fingertips!

Start building out your itinerary

Now that you have a ton of cool spots to explore in your next destination, use the map you’ve built and create an epic itinerary.

The first thing you can do is break down items by neighborhood and their proximity to one another. Group attractions, restaurants, and activities into a single day. This will help you create a more efficient route to get around town.

Start grouping destinations and multiple locations

You can also use Google Maps as a tool to figure out the best way to get around. For example, you can see how much time it will take you to get from point A to point B by foot, public transportation, or driving. Doing this will help you visualize your itinerary and help you make any necessary adjustments in these multiple stops.

Next, you're going to plan and finalize your itinerary. This is the time when you will find:

  • The neighborhood and hotel you're staying in
  • The airport or other transportation station you're traveling through
  • The destinations or activities you need to group
  • Where to rent a car or book an Uber
  • Whether some attractions are within walking distance

To plan your itinerary, you're going to create your DIY routes. Here, you can make your own driving, cycling, or walking routes.

Click "Draw a Line"

Start by clicking the "Draw line" icon. Then, you'll see the following options:

  • Add a line or shape
  • Add driving route
  • Add cycling route
  • Add walking route

After choosing, click "Add direction," which will automatically add a new layer to your map. After that, all you have to do is select Point A and Point B.

You can then add multiple stops (up to 10) in your route, which will help you calculate your drive times or even walking times. If you want to change or rearrange your routes, you can simply drag the white circle to the new route you want.

To get the complete breakdown of travel time in minutes between each stop you want, just select "step by step directions." This Google Maps feature comes in handy especially if you're going to walk through the trip.

You might want to share this itinerary with the ones you're going to travel with. To do so, simply click on the "Share" button and add their emails. Then you can customize who can see your map and what they can do with it.

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Share your map to your friends and family

Access your Maps on your phone

Congrats! Now, you've created your own personalized trip itinerary. To make sure you don't forget it, there's an even easier way to stay organized: access your maps on your phone.

Download Google Maps

All you need to do is download the Google Maps app, then log into your account. You'll be able to get an easy access all of your saved maps. Keep in mind that if you make any changes to your map on the web version, it will be updated on the app as well.

Plus, you can access the Google Maps app offline – so no need to worry if you don't have an internet connection while you travel.

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Access the map you created offline

With that said, here's our final trip when it comes to trip planning with Google Maps...

Plan, but don't over plan

Every successful trip needs some wiggle room. To make sure you're prepared for any surprises, leave some gaps in your day – just make sure that your must-see destinations are worked into your itinerary. Trying to fill every minute of every day is like trying to run a marathon without any water.

Sometimes, going with the flow is the only solution in case the weather is bad or the place you want to see is closed for some reason. You don't want to be stuck in a place that you don't want to be, as it will take away from your overall trip experience.

And above all, remember to have fun and enjoy the ride. Slow down and actually enjoy the moment. After all, that's why you planned the trip in the first place!

Google Maps Makes Trip Planning Simple!

Planning your trip doesn't have to be a headache. With Google Maps and its trip planning tool, it's easier than ever to create an itinerary that fits your needs and tick off your bucket list.

So don't let the planning process overwhelm you or stress you out. Instead, enjoy the ride and make your trip as fun and memorable as possible!

Now that you know how to plan a trip using Google Maps, it's time to hit the road – and start discovering the world! We hope you found this guide useful. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out – we'd love to hear from you!

If you'd like some inspiration and travel planning tips for your next vacation, check out our list of the vacation ideas here.

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