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How to create custom Google “My Maps” for road trips & travel

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Erin L

Erin L

how to make google maps road trip directions save my maps

Plotting out a road trip on paper is old school. Savvy travelers are using technology to plan long drives and trips, since these routes can be adjusted and customized with the click of a mouse. Google Maps has made it easy to design a custom plan, thanks to its “My Maps” platform. But it can be a bit confusing to newbies. Here’s how to create make your own google maps for destination maps, driving maps, road trip maps and how to manage them.

How do I make a customized Google “My Map”?

Using Google’s My Maps allows you to customize your stops, destinations, attractions and more. You can create map layers that allow you to get to a certain destination, then plot out a bunch of things to see and do while there. Then you can resume your road trip with step-by step directions.

How can I add pins to Google My Maps?

When placing pins on destinations or restaurants or shops, you can also colour coordinate the pins, for example, setting Red for restaurants, Blue for sightseeing, Orange for hotels or Airbnb’s etc.

It’s also possible to save these maps for offline use so if you lose your cell signal, you won’t get lost.

Best of all, if you want to share your city destinations, or your route, you can send a link to friends so they can check out your discoveries.

How to Create a “My Map” Google map

Make a list of places or attractions

On your computer, sign in to My Maps.
Click “Create a new map” in the top left corner.

Screenshot of Google My Maps
Go to the top left and click “Untitled map.” Then write a name or description.

 

How can I add places to Google My Maps?

Start adding places to your Google My Map by typing a city, attraction or destination into the search field along the top of the screen. If you’re happy with the place, hover over the location in the left column and look for a + sign to appear. Click it to add your destination to the map. You can also select “add to map” which is an option available in the text/info box attached to the pin (below).

 

Screenshot of Google My Maps

Clicking on the pins will bring up address, (including GPS coordinates) phone number and operating hours info if what you’ve searched is a business.

How to create a Google route map or Google road trip map

  1. Click “Create a new map” in the top left corner.
  2. Go to the top left and click “Untitled map.” Then write a name or description.
  3. Click “Add directions button” it’s not outwardly labelled but it’s the 6th button from the left and looks like a tiny Y-intersection.
  4. Now look over to the left hand column. You’ll see some “A” and “B” boxes have popped up. Type in your starting point and next destination. Click “Add Destination” to add more stops.

Screenshot of Google My Maps with arrows showing instructions

 

The route appears on your map.

Add another leg to your trip: Click Add Destination.

Change how you get there: Below the layer name, and once you’ve started adding destinations you can change your mode of transportation: click Driving, Bicycling, or Walking.

Show step-by-step directions: Click the three dots beside your destinations so far. You’ll see three options pop open: Rename layer, delete layer, and Step-by-step directions. This will also show distances and drive times.

Want to change the routing Google’s given you? Hover your cursor over the route then click and drag to adjust.

How can I share My Google Maps?

To Share My Maps, click on the little person icon below the name of your map.

How do I save Google Maps for Offline use?

Want to save these for offline use? Technically you can’t do that with My Maps. Some folks have reported success with exporting My Maps to KML then emailing it to a phone and opening the file with Map Plus. If you want to read more about how you can download regular Google Maps for offline use (not these custom made ones) click here to read more.

How to measure distances on My Maps Google Maps

  1. Open or create a map.
  2. Click Measure distances and areas (the tiny ruler icon under the search box)
  3. Click where you want to start your measurement.
  4. Click each corner or bend of a line, road or shape.
  5. When you’re finished drawing, double-click or close the shape on another point.

You’ll see the distance (and area, if it’s a shape) highlighted in blue on the map. Distances and areas are based on your scale and country.

Did you find this info helpful? Tell us how, or how we can improve in the comments below!

 

Planning a long journey or trip? Check out our travel tech reviews for some great items to make your trip a breeze!

Erin L

Erin L

I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.

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