Plan (and Document) your Adventures… on a MAP!

Southeast Asia Trip LARGE

For years I’ve created custom Google Maps for my projects. You can see The Tuxedo Travels or Cause It’s My Birthday for examples of how I’ve used them on past adventures. Thankfully Google has now made it easier than ever as a way to help plan a trip. When I’m traveling to a new place I just create a new map and begin researching places and asking friends where they think I should explore. Take this map for example, which I am in the process of making for my upcoming trip to Southeast Asia. I just throw all the pins right on the map, plus weblinks and descriptions in the pin’s “description” section. This style of visualization helps me plot my itinerary and also helps me not forget things as I travel around. Want to learn more about how to make your own? Read on!

Creating custom Google maps is a feature that I think really few people know about. Here are the basic instructions to create a map:

  1. Open Google Maps and make sure you’re signed in.
  2. In the top left corner, click the main menu ​.
  3. Click My Maps to see a list of maps you created recently.
  4. Click a map in the list (or click See all your maps).
  5. Click Open original map to edit the map you opened.
  6. Want to learn how to add routes, shapes and use different icons? Go here…

Creating maps is especially useful these days because you can now view the custom map that you create as a layer WITHIN the Google Maps mobile app. This means that the pins & routes that you add remain visible on the map even while you bring up directions to and from places. The feature is a little hidden, but worth exploring.If you want to see your map on your mobile device you can view it as a layer in the following way:

  1. Open your mobile Google Maps app and make sure you’re signed in
  2. Click the menu icon and select “My Places”
  3. Scroll down down until you see “My Maps”
  4. NOTE: You can also use the dedicated “My Maps” Google App, but I haven’t tried that yet…

Here’s another one that I made for a Southwest road trip that I went on a couple of years ago, complete with custom icons and daily routes!


Leave a Comment