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by Kristin Young | Updated On: June 19, 2019

Google Maps is an incredible resource for figuring out the logistics of trips.  You can do everything from finding your travel time to actually walking around a neighborhood.

First things first though. Start by gathering inspiration and figuring out places you might want to visit.

Read: Planning a trip with Pinterest to learn about using one of the best travel planning sites out there. As I’m going through blogs on Pinterest, I keep a separate Google Maps tab open. As I read about or see places of interest, I go to Google Maps and star every one of them.

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Save Places and Create Labels on Google Maps

Star or Save Locations of Interest

Early in the process, you’ll begin to develop a map that helps you decide where to focus your time, based on the concentration of stars.  A few lines down, create labels for each location.  For example, when we went to Dubrovnik, I labeled all of the Game of Thrones sites with their names from the show.  

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Plan your Travel Times

After you’ve read enough blogs and researched enough pictures to feel comfortable moving to the next phase of planning, you can begin to plan the number of days you want to spend in each city.  Google Maps can help you plan travel time from place to place, by car or public transportation. In some third-world locations, estimates aren’t completely accurate due to the condition of the roads.  But in the majority of the world, Google Maps works great.

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Find a Hotel or Apartment

Once you have your cities and dates narrowed down, it’s time to start looking for a hotel or apartment.  We almost always stay in an apartment or house, and find that Airbnb is the best website out there for vacation rentals.  (Get $40 off your first stay).  Usually you can pinpoint an area where many of your stars are concentrated, and that will narrow down the accommodation options. I almost always search for accommodations based on the map view.  

If you don’t want to be right in the thick of it, Google Maps also shows the public transit routes that you can follow out from the popular areas.  That will help locate a neighborhood along the line for quick access to the things you will want to see.  

If you have an ideal location, but can’t seem to find a hotel or apartment in that area, you can use Google Street View to actually “walk” down the streets.  Keep an eye out for any signs for hotels to search for.  

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google street view

Get Familiar with the Area on Street View

Street View is also helpful to get a feel for the city, and the place you’ll be staying in.  I sometimes “walk” the streets from our arrival point in a city to our apartment.  When I get to a new city or location it helps to have some familiarity with the place, especially when lugging bags around.  

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Create an Itinerary

Now it’s time to put all your research to good use, and start creating your Itinerary.


About the Author: Kristin Young

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Young Family at Wire Pass

Exploring the world,
creating memories,
and spending time together.


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