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! :)
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! ;)
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.
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.
A Save to My Maps box will pop up.
Click on that box, then click on Create a new map…
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.
Now you can change the name of your map to anything you want!
Now just start searching and adding whatever you want to your map. This part goes super quickly.
Times Square? Save to map!
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.
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.
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.
And easily save it to your custom map!
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. :)
Click on Maps.
And you’ll see your newly created map. Click on it.
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.
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.
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!!!
I use the camera icon for photo op locations.
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!
Don’t forget the Kouign Amann!!
You can drag and drop the items in your list to organize them by type.
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.
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! ;)
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.
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