How to Use Google My Maps For the Ultimate Road Trip




Planning a great road trip using google my maps


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When planning a trip or vacation, many of us use Google Maps as a guide and a form of navigation. But have you ever thought about using My Maps by Google? Google My Maps can be very helpful too in making this process more organized and effective and this is what we will be sharing with you and discussing here.

How Can I use Google My Maps to Organize my Road Trip? It is very easy to organize your road trip using Google My Maps, by following the 6 simple steps below:

  1. When logged in to your Google account, Search ‘My Maps’ and select My Maps -About – Google
  2. Press: GET STARTED, Then CREATE A MAP and title your map
  3. Start Adding locations and layers to your map
  4. Change the icons to more easily identify hotels from restaurants from attractions etc
  5. Ceate multiple layers to keep organised
  6. Time to Create your Route: Press ‘add directions and lead from pin to pin in the order you want to go and let google do its magic and create you the best route

Accessing Google My Maps:

Please Note: All images in this post are sourced from Google My Maps – Map data ©2021 with thanks


Firstly, ensure that you are logged into your Gmail account. In the Google search bar, type in “my maps” and select the option “Google Maps ‘My Maps’”. You will be presented with a screen in which all your saved maps will appear. To create a map, select the “Create A New Map” option in the top left of the screen. To begin with, in the top-left of the screen where it says “Untitled map”, give your individual map a name.

Creating Your Map:

2. press CREATE A MAP on the top left to get started

You can add layers to your maps and give these names or titles as well. To do this, click on “Untitled layer” and give that particular layer a name, such as:

  • Start & Finish points
  • Motels and Hotels
  • Must See Sites
  • Must See Attractions
  • Airports & Car Rentals
  • Places to Eat on the way
  • Grandma’s House
  • Destinations

The layers can be titled whatever you want them to be.

2. Title your map

A beneficial feature of Google My Maps is that you do not have to know the exact address of the place you are looking to find. Google will have a number of suggestions according to what you input in the search bar in the top-center of the screen.

3. Start adding your destinations to your layers

Once you have clicked on a place name, the map will move to that particular location and drop a pin on the map. In order to add that location to your map, click “+ Add to map”. Once you have done this, that location will show in your layers in the tab on the left side of the screen. Repeat this process for as many locations as you want to add to your map. Also, it may be beneficial to add particular transport locations such as airports into your map.

4. Change the Base map and Icons

You are able to change the view of the map itself by clicking on “Base Map” on the left side of the screen and selecting which type of map view you would like. In addition, it is possible to import data into Google My Maps from places such as spreadsheets.

When using Google My Maps, it makes sense to have your journey, destinations and accommodations already planned and use the Google My Maps feature only to layout your journey on a map. Occasionally, when you add something to your map, it may put that location into the wrong layer. However, this is not a problem as you can easily drag and drop your pins into whichever layer you would like them to be in.

5. Create multiple layers & destinations to keep organized

Furthermore, in order to easily distinguish between the different layers of your map, you can hover over a particular location and click on the icon to the right of the name. Here you can customize the color and the symbol of your pins, to make your map more accessible for you.

Also, it is possible to turn layers on and off by clicking on the tick next to the layer title. This is useful if you want to see particular layers on your map only. There is another useful feature where when you click on a particular location or pin and then type into the search bar a keyword (for example, “hiking”) and it will bring upon the map many options related to that keyword in the area surrounding your pin.

Watch the full super helpful video called ‘How to plan road trip w/ Google My Maps’ below by Ashley from her great travel-based youtube channel called ‘akfesso‘ then read on for more guidelines

How to plan a road trip with Google my Maps by akfesso

Planning the Route:

One of the main reasons for using Google My Maps is to plan your road trip. This will include things like journey times and how you can stay at a particular destination before moving on to the next one.

To begin with, click on the single square icon below the search bar that is titled “add directions”. Following this, click on your pins in the order that you are going to be traveling to these destinations. Each time you click on a pin, the destinations will appear in a layer entitled “Directions from … (whichever location you clicked first)”.

Before you click on the next pin, ensure that you click on “Add Destination” below the locations in the left side tab. The map will plot a route on the map as you do this. By default, the map selects the fastest route. However, if there is a particular route that you would like to go on, you can drag on drop the route onto the road that you want your route to take.

6. press add directions and create your route. Job Done!

In order to find out the timings for your route, click on the three dots next to the “Directions from …” tab entitled “layer options”. Then, click on “Step-by-Step directions”. Here the feature will provide you with a total distance for the journey, the time of your journey, and specific navigation directions.

If you would like to find out the estimated direct distance between two points on your map, click on the single squared icon below the search bar entitled “Measure distances and areas”. Then, click on one destination and drag and drop to the other destination.

Then, the map will provide an estimated distance between these two points. In order to exit this feature, hit Esc on your keyboard. Also, you can place individual markers on your map. To do this, click on a particular point on the map. You will then be prompted to enter a name and description for this marker. When you press “save” the coordinates of this location will appear at the bottom of the tab.

When you are finished with your map, click back to the Google My Maps homepage and you will see your map appear. This can then be accessed again on desktop or also on mobile.

That concludes this post about how to plan road trips with Google My Maps. It is a very useful tool for organizing your trips and laying them out in an easy and accessible manner.

Limitations of Google My Maps

Google My Map is an amazing tool to have when both organizing and while on the road. Beforehand it’s so helpful to be able to visualize the roads, stops, and attractions you have planned, so you can coordinate the route, and see the overall milage and so be able to calculate the expense on fuel, motels, and food stops.

While on the road, you can just treat it as a google sat nav and let Google navigate you to the next leg of your trip be it to the next state, town, motel, attraction, or that famous Buffalo Chicken Wings stand everyone’s keeps telling you not to miss.

But there are limitations to Google My Maps, as in life, but I’m happy to say they are not that restricting for what we will be using it for and are talking about in this article.

These Google My Map Limitations are:

  • Each Map can only have up to 10 layers. Depending on how big and complex your trip is going to be , 10 layer should be more than enought to keep your map clean and orgaized.
  • Each map can only have upto 2000 places, lines or shapes. Again unless you are planning one epic long and complex road trip across america and back again and back again, again. 2000 points shall see you just fine.


There you have it, just 6 simple steps to organizing your road trip down to that Harlem hot dog stand. We hope you found this useful and wish you a safe and fun road trip. Keep safe!

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