January 15, 2014

Create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps

If you’ve got a vacation coming up, I have a super useful tutorial for you today to help you easily organize and manage your trip. Before I leave on a trip, I always create a custom travel map so I can keep track of my hotel, what I want to see, photo ops, restaurants, and more all in one easily accessible spot. That way I can see where everything is, see what’s close to each other, and have directions and notes right at my fingertips. Today I’m going to show you how easy it is to make one. It’s super simple and you can probably create your own map in 15 minutes or less. Let’s get started! :)

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

I chose NYC for our tutorial map today. So not only do you get a custom travel map tutorial, you also get a list of my favorite, must-visit spots in NYC! ;)

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

To start, go to maps.google.com/maps/myplaces and type in the first place you want to add to your map.

You don’t even have to know the exact address, just start typing and Google will fill in the rest and do the work for you because Google knows everything and can also read your mind!

Hit Enter or click the magnifying glass to pull up a list of your search results. I started with our hotel, the Omni Berkshire Place in NYC.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

The location of the item you searched for will appear on the map along with some information on the left side. When you find the one you want to add to your map, click the Save to map link underneath the result.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

A Save to My Maps box will pop up.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

Click on that box, then click on Create a new map…

Click Save.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

Once you save, a new screen will pop up. This is your new map. Now it will automatically name your new map to whatever you searched for, so we want to change that name to something more relevant. To do that, click Edit.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

Now you can change the name of your map to anything you want!

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

Now just start searching and adding whatever you want to your map. This part goes super quickly.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

Times Square? Save to map!

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

This time your new map will automatically show up in your Save to My Maps box, so all you have to do is click Save.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

If there’s more than one location for a place you searched for, you can see all the locations on the map, along with the other places you’ve searched for, so you can see which location is closest to places you’ll already be.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

Once you determine the optimal location, just click on the marker on the map and the more info box will pop up. From this box you can click on Save to map.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

And easily save it to your custom map!

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

Now, when you’ve got everything added to your map, close the window and open a new one to maps.google.com/maps/myplaces.

This may not be necessary for you, but for some reason whenever I try to pull up my newly created map in the same window I created it in, Google will only show the first location I added to the map on my map. This freaked me out the first time it happened, because I thought all that time I spent adding new locations to the map was lost!! But when I opened a new window, they were all there again. And it wasn’t just a one time thing, it happens every single time. I don’t know if it’s just me, or some kind of Google bug, so just in case, close the window and open a new one. :)

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

Click on Maps.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

And you’ll see your newly created map. Click on it.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

Here’s your map! Now this is all fine, everything is there, but it’s kinda boring, and everything kinda runs together with all the blue pins. Let’s get these more organized.

Click Edit at the top of your map.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

Now you can click on any location from the list on the left, and a box will pop up allowing you to give that location a custom icon.

Click on the blue pin in the box that pops up to change it to something else.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

I always make my hotel a green pin because that is where you start every day. I know, I’m dorky like that! ;) They also have a red bed you could use, because it’s a bed for hotel and that’s also where you’ll be stopping every day. #superdorkalert!!!

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

I use the camera icon for photo op locations.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

You can also add notes in the description box to remind you of things you want to do and see, or what to order at restaurants!

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

Don’t forget the Kouign Amann!!

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

You can drag and drop the items in your list to organize them by type.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

So that all of your photo ops are together, all your shopping locations are together, etc.

Or you can organize them by order in which you want to visit.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

Breakfast restaurants are in yellow, because rise and shine obvi. ;)

Lunch is teal and dinner is purple.

Bakeries are always pink!! :)

Ice cream and gelato are a snowflake.

They have all kinds of different icons to customize your map and make it your own. You don’t have to be dorky like me! ;)

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

When you’re finished customizing your map, just click Done up at the top, then click on the link button and grab the URL to your map. I always use the Short URL.

Now you can email this link to yourself so you’ll always have it, and you can open this map up on your phone so you can take it with you wherever you go and easily look up directions from your current location.

 

SUPER helpful tutorial to create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps. A MUST have if you've got a vacation coming up!

That’s it!! Hope this helps someone!! :)

Here is a link to my NYC map of all my favorite places if you’d like to take a closer look. You can also test out this link on your phone to see how it works.

Happy travels!! :) xoxo



See More Posts About: TravelTutorials

70 Comments






1
Elke January 15, 2014 at 2:02 am

Hello Amanda,

Thank you for this great tutorial. This will really help to organize trips better!

Elke

Reply

2
Annapolis Anne January 15, 2014 at 4:11 am

What a great idea — such fun for a scrapbook!

I am looking forward to giving this a try!

Thanks–
Anne

Reply

3
Charlotte January 15, 2014 at 4:38 am

I always wanted to make a map with dots where all my friends live in my town, now I finally know how to do this! Thank you so much for this post. :)

Reply

4
Southern Gal January 15, 2014 at 5:47 am

This is great information! If ever I get a smart phone or GPS, I’m going to do this. ;)

Reply

5
PattiNC January 15, 2014 at 6:07 am

Perfect tutorial!! Thank you for sharing!!

Reply

6
Anele @ Success Along the Weigh January 15, 2014 at 6:14 am

How did you know I needed to get to planning our trip!? I think this will definitely come in handy for our next vacay. Thanks for the tutorial!

Reply

7
Adrienne Seal January 15, 2014 at 6:36 am

Perfect. Going on a trip soon and couldn’t figure out google maps. Thx for the help.

Reply

8
Susan B January 15, 2014 at 7:21 am

O.M.G. Mind BLOWN! Where has this been for all of my travels?! Thank you so much for putting this step-by-step!

Reply

9
Skrapkitty January 15, 2014 at 7:27 am

I don’t often leave comments although I follow quite a few blogs, but I just had to this time . This is freakin’ awesome! Thank you so much for sharing such a neat and useful tool! Love it!

Reply

10
Joan January 15, 2014 at 7:33 am

Wow. You gave us family “travel agents” a great road map. Now if you would only teach this “class” for our RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteers) in Guntersville……

Reply

11
Sally January 15, 2014 at 7:44 am

Thanks so much for this info!!! This will come in so handy.

Reply

12
Kim January 15, 2014 at 8:18 am

Awesome tutorial! I can’t believe I didn’t know about this. I’ll definitely be taking advantage of this feature for our next trip!!

Reply

13
Deborah January 15, 2014 at 8:22 am

I’m heading to NYC in a few weeks, and you just planned my trip for me. ;) Thanks!!

Reply

14
amy Johnson January 15, 2014 at 8:59 am

Wow! I use google maps all the time, but never knew I could do this. Thanks for sharing! I will definitely be using this on my next trip.

Reply

15
Emily January 15, 2014 at 9:31 am

What a great idea. Thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely be doing this for my next trip!

Reply

16
Bridget =) January 15, 2014 at 9:40 am

WOW, thank you so much for this!!! how freaking cool!! LOVE IT!!!!! and thank you for the step by step instructions!!!!

Reply

17
melissa January 15, 2014 at 10:30 am

I am constantly mapping out places when we go on trips but I always added each place as a destination….never knew this feature was available! This will come in so handy. What a great tutorial as well! Thanks so much!

Reply

18
Teresa January 15, 2014 at 10:37 am

Thanks for this Amanda. But my Google maps looks nothing like this. They’ve upgraded their website? When I do a search for a location, say Monterey Bay Aquarium, it comes up on the map, but I do not get the “save to map” link. It shows 2 buttons in the info pop-up next to the address of the site with only “directions” & “save”. I click save & it just “stars” the location on the map. No save to my maps box pop up or anything…..so I can’t follow the next steps. Would really love to be able to do this, but my google maps is coming up different. Any ideas why? I’m on a Windows 7 machine using Google Chrome as my browser. Thanks for any help!

Reply

19
Amanda January 15, 2014 at 10:52 am

Hi Teresa! Great question!

To create a map with the new Google Maps click on the Settings button (gear icon) in the bottom right hand corner of the new Google Maps screen, then click on My Places.

From that screen, the map should look like my photos above and from here you can search for locations (like Monterey Bay Aquarium) and add them to your map.

Hope this helps! :)

20
Cody Christiansen January 15, 2014 at 11:17 am

This is a FANTASTIC tutorial!! You are amazing Amanda!!

Reply

21
Angie | Big Bear's Wife January 15, 2014 at 11:34 am

This is so great! I just made one for our upcoming trip to Honolulu! Thank you!

Reply

22
Teresa Young January 15, 2014 at 11:45 am

Thanks, Amanda! I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a vacation I am planning! (:

Reply

23
Teresa January 15, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Amanda! Thanks, I got it to work now! This is going to be awesome for our island-hopping Hawaii trip!

Reply

24
Mary January 15, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Amanda, YOU are a genius! Thanks for another great idea, I can’t wait to try this for my next vacation!

Reply

25
Tina Hicks January 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Amanda,
Thanks so much for this tutorial! I have a hard
time with google maps! You rock girl:)

Tina

Reply

26
Jaimie January 15, 2014 at 2:36 pm

I had no idea you could do this!! Thank you for sharing!

Reply

27
Alison C. January 15, 2014 at 2:53 pm

This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial! I’m a total Google geek, but had no idea you could do this with Maps!

Reply

28
Christina January 15, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Thank you so much for doing this! I had no idea such thing was possible. It just so happens, I’m also planning a trip to NYC in July, hopefully. This is perfect for mapping out what sights we want to see! Thank you!! <3

Reply

29
Kim S January 15, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Another cool thing if you have an iPhone is the My Maps app – you can sync with your Google account to show all custom maps like these! So you don’t have to open your browser/use a short URL. Just a little tip from a big fan of custom Google maps!

Reply

30
Sandy_in_MD January 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm

This is really cool – thanks so much for the detailed step by step instructions!

Reply

31
Jenny Flake January 15, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Love Love Love your custom google maps!! Can’t wait to put it to use in March, yippee!!

Reply

32
Nikki @Seeded at the Table January 15, 2014 at 7:56 pm

WOW, Amanda! I use Google Maps all.the.time. and never knew I could do this with it!! Woohoo for your wonderful tips!! Thank you, girl! :)

Reply

33
Queen Bee January 15, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Who knew?? This is awesome! I just mapped out my trip to Honolulu and Maui for next week. You posted this just in time! Thanks so much!

Reply

34
Ali | Gimme Some Oven January 16, 2014 at 11:49 am

Wahoo!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. Can’t wait to create some maps of my own!

Reply

35
Nicole D. January 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm

I love that you put Ess-A-Bagel on your map. When I lived in NYC, I used to go there for breakfast on Saturday mornings. So delicious!

Reply

36
Nicole D. January 16, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Also, if you like coffee, you can the most delicious cup of Kona coffee at Choux Factory on 1st ave at 48th St. http://www.yelp.com/biz/choux-factory-new-york-2

Reply

37
Karrie January 16, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Thanks so much for sharing! This is amazing and way cuter than I ever imagined Google Maps could be. Coincidentally, I’m ACTUALLY planning a trip to NYC in MARCH, so this is just brilliant.

Reply

38
Laura January 16, 2014 at 8:54 pm

WOW!!! My husband and I were just talking about our vacation this summer. This is perfect timing! We’re going to Glacier Nat’l Park and up into Canada… Then back down the Washington and Oregon Coast… We live in Arkansas, so we definitely need a map and a plan. Thank you SO MUCH!!! I’ll get started on our map tomorrow.

Reply

39
Valerie Goetz January 17, 2014 at 9:49 am

Thanks Amanda! I love your blog! This came in perfect timing as I am researching places to visit in NYC.. I’ve never been and that’s where we are planning our vacation this year! I will be copying your list as I am a baker by profession and love to try new bakeries everywhere I go! : ) Do you have any other must-see places in NYC you could possibly recommend for first-timers? Best (affordable for a week) places to stay? I would appreciate any input you could offer! Thanks !!! xox Valerie

Reply

40
Amanda January 17, 2014 at 10:10 am

Hi Valerie! Here is a list of all my posts about my favorite places in NYC:

http://www.kevinandamanda.com/whatsnew/tag/nyc

I’ve got everything from restaurants, bakeries, hotels, attractions and more! :) Hope this helps! :)

41
MaryB January 18, 2014 at 11:25 pm

I always enjoy your blog posts! I’ve been an email subscriber for a long time but for some time the email updates are not arriving. They are not in my “spam” folder. I’m curious if anyone else has had this problem receiving their email updates?

Reply

42
Caroline L. January 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm

This is legitimately one of the most helpful travel tips I’ve read! Thanks so much! :)

Reply

43
Kristy Taxson January 19, 2014 at 4:32 pm

This is such a useful and wonderful tool to have!! Thank you so much for the step by step tutorial! I can’t wait for my next trip so I can use this!!!

Thank you!!!

Reply

44
Sheila January 19, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Oh my goodness I love Ess-a-bagel!! It’s not a trip to NYC with out at least one stop there. I have never made a google map, but now I can’t wait to plan a trip so I can!

Reply

45
Michelle @ My Gluten-free Kitchen January 19, 2014 at 11:52 pm

I’ve been making maps like this for a few years for each of our family vacations. I love being able to plot out everywhere we are staying, attractions we’re visiting, and safe gluten-free places for me to eat.
It used to be that you could access these saved maps within the Google Maps App on your phone, but unfortunately Google eliminated that awesome feature last year. Since they did that, I’ve been looking for alternate options. I haven’t tried your method of emailing it and opening that way. Can you navigate it pretty easily that way?

Reply

46
Amanda January 20, 2014 at 2:30 am

It was definitely easier with the app! I loved that feature too. It can be a bit buggy/laggy at times through the browser, but it works the same and it’s definitely better than nothing! :)

47
Jamie January 20, 2014 at 11:58 am

love this. saved your map and started my own for my trip to nyc this week. so helpful! i really love your blog and so appreciate your generosity in sharing!

Reply

48
Jenna January 20, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Amanda,

What causes you to travel so often? Is this for pleasure or is it business-related? I always thought that I traveled quite a bit but you seem to live in hotels more than your house. I’m sure it’s fun, but I think it would be a bit exhausting for me.

This is a cute idea, but Google maps has caused me to get lost more than once. I typically just rely on my GPS. Thanks for the tutorial!

Reply

49
Ricardo January 26, 2014 at 11:10 am

Thanks, I was needing something like that for my next vacation to Montreal.

Reply

50
Melissa Sun February 9, 2014 at 9:00 am

Thanks for sharing this! Pure genius! I do have a quick question though…do you know if there is a way to pull up your custom map from the Google Maps app? If you don’t know, no worries…just thought I’d check! Thanks again!

Reply

51
Ashley February 10, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Hi Amanda, I just created a birthday weekend in Portland for my boyfriend using your tutorial, it was great-thank you! I was wondering once I email it to myself and I can pull it up on my phone is there a way for it to start navigating? Or do I have to put the destination in first for it to navigate? I can see my stops below but if i touch the icon it just takes me to that website…hopefully this makes sense ;-)
Thank you!

Reply

52
mjm122696 February 20, 2014 at 2:02 pm

After reading about the Kouign Amann (DKA), I had to try them and made them on Xmas Day- talk about a labor of yummy love.
We are planning a trip to NYC in May and while confirming details of Dominique’s Bakery learned of The Cronut! Have you read about them? One of Time Magazine’s Top 25 Inventions of 2013!?!? Only (currently) make 350/day. You can get in line 1 hour prior to opening, or order online two weeks out online. VERY interesting!! We have the order date on our calendar. I can’t wait to try BOTH!!!
Just FYI. Thanks for the Google Map tutorial, if the custom maps gave distances for walking/driving/public transport as mapquest does-THAT would really rock. Thanks a ton.

Reply

53
Ken March 11, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Quick question – when I attempt to change a pin’s icon, it changes all of my pins to that icon. I can’t seem to figure out how to make them individualized. What am I doing wrong?

Reply

54
Jean Pierre March 14, 2014 at 12:55 am

hi guys,
I need a tutorial for this kind of application:
- an app that gets my location and shows it with a marker on Google map.
- this app should have a button and when I click on it:
It select from my database nearest restaurants (within any range, maybe 1 miles) and show them with markers on the map.
=>of course restaurants are stored in the database with their names and coordinates (latitude & longitude).

If anyone ever seen any tutorial to do such an app, please tell me.
Thx

Reply

55
Liren March 22, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Amanda, I have to tell you, this is fantastic! I’m heading back to NYC, where I was born and raised, for my brother’s wedding, but with the kids in tow, I feel like we’ll be playing tourist. I am making my map right now, and this helps SO much! Thank you!

Reply

56
Roger April 6, 2014 at 9:25 am

That URL is not working for me. I get this msg:
This feature is not supported in the new Google Maps, so we’ve temporarily switched you to classic Google

Any idea what this means?

Reply

57
Amanda April 20, 2014 at 2:48 pm

It stills work, it just means Google may change the way the maps look in the future. They are updating their maps interface. Hope this helps!

58
Allane Milliane April 23, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Hi Amanda…thank you so much for sharing this great tip!! Sure I will use it sometime soon on my blog!! :)

Reply

59
Megan Steva May 21, 2014 at 11:09 am

What a great tutorial! Thank you so much for putting this out there. I will be using it on all my future trips. I’m fairly new to your blog, and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites!

Reply

60
Gwen May 27, 2014 at 10:51 am

This was very helpful – for all the steps that I ran stuck on (e.g., open a new window to see the map), you had the answer – thank you!

Reply

61
mark June 15, 2014 at 10:08 pm

great help. Is there a way to now plot and graph the roads you would take to each place on the map, maybe in different colors ?

Reply

62
Ellen June 17, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Great tutorial, Amanda! I was getting really frustrated making my map but your tips made it super easy. Thanks!

Reply

63
vickie July 14, 2014 at 7:18 pm

This tutorial is very easy to follow! Thanks for sharing it. But I’m having trouble –I can’ t get it to show the “edit” button so that I can change the little pins to other things. Can you help me with this?? thanks!

Reply

64
Randy July 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Hello

I was wondering if it was possible to have around 500 pins on a map at one time? I tried it adding them but eventually they got automatically split into two pages once the list of locations got too long. I want all the locations on one map instead of carrying over the rest onto a second map.

Reply

65
The Armchair Parisian September 16, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Found this (great) tutorial last night and got started on a map for an upcoming trip. Today, when I came back to work on it more, the map is still there, but now when I input a location, I am no longer getting the “save to map” choice (I am just getting “Directions” and “Search Nearby”. I have Googled my heart out looking for the fix with no luck – any ideas?? May thanks!

Reply

66
Daisy September 17, 2014 at 5:41 am

I have created google maps before (using this awesome tutorial!) but when I tried to edit them tonight, I had the same issue. There is no longer a “save to map” option in classic maps. Google is transitioning to the newer My Maps/Map Engines. If you use that new version, the “save to map” option is there but there are some drawbacks. You can no longer add your own image for each pin, and google no longer automatically includes a street view image of the location. Really annoying!

Reply

67
The Armchair Parisian September 17, 2014 at 9:20 am

Agreed – annoying! Figures they changed it the day after I spent hours the day before creating a map. Now I guess I’ll have to figure out how to access the new “Maps”, then how to export/import that map so I don’t have to do it all over again. ::sigh::

68
Jack September 18, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Thanks for such a useful tutorial. Quick question: How did you save your map as a .jpg (as it is shown on top of this tutorial)? I cannot find an option to save the edited map as an image. I tried with a screenshot but then (after cropping all those mini-windows on the map) I lose a big part of the map and it doesn’t look as nice and as neat as yours :( Thanks!

Reply

69
Dennis September 24, 2014 at 9:15 am

Why isn’t the location icon (to find your current location) present on the map when looking through the link on the iPhone? So, essentially I can see what pins I am near when on my trip. Any help, greatly appreciated!

Reply

70
Saffronstays October 27, 2014 at 1:18 am

a great content here for the customization of the Google map. This is so much useful for the people who are traveler or making a plan for the tours. By this Google map customization you can get the way of your destination quickly.

Reply

Leave a Comment