Create lists of must-see locations, get restaurant recommendations from locals, and make friends with your Google Assistant – let these Google Maps tips help you make the most out of your staycation this year.
I was fortunate to travel to Majorca with Google last year, and I learned so much about the many features that are available through Google Maps. Did you know that you can find secret scenic spots recommended by local guides, or find out where to enjoy the best views over lunch? You can even find out what the most popular dish is in a restaurant! I love that you can create and share lists with friends of top places you want to visit, and how you can add your favourite attractions or restaurants individually. I have found some of these Google Maps tips invaluable on my travels, so I thought I would share them with you.
1. Create your own lists of restaurants or attractions that you want to visit
There are so many people posting about staycations right now, and social media is full of great beach and restaurant recommendations – unfortunately we will probably forget about them by the time we get to visit! However, did you know you can create lists in the Google Maps Food and Transit app? If there is a restaurant or attraction you want to visit later in the year, why not add it to your favourites list now, so you won’t forget it the next time you are in the area.
You can save these lists by county, restaurant or attraction. Once you look up the google map for that area it will automatically show up the place you have added to your list. You can also share these lists with friends and organise group lists if travelling with friends or extended family. This is one of my favourite Google Maps tips.
2. Find Hidden Gems via Google Maps
Want to see highlights that are off the beaten track? Google Maps has a separate ‘Explore’ tab where you can explore the best sights and events happening in a particular area. When you are searching for an attraction, you can also check the google reviews, see photos from fellow travellers, opening times, and even prices. You can also see activity options based on the area you’re looking at, such as food tours, festivals or popular scenic spots.
3. Use Google Assistant while driving
As well as an obvious safety measure, once you start using voice commands on Google Maps you will never go back to the hand held search method. All you need to say is: “Ok Google, find me the nearest petrol station”, “drive me to Main Street Kilkenny” or “find me the nearest restaurant”. You can also get the kids to stop asking you “are we nearly there yet” – they can ask Google instead!
4. Download the Google Map of your destination before you leave the house
Google has had the ability to use maps offline for many years, but it is surprising how many people are still not aware of this great facility. Using maps offline means you don’t need WiFi, or need to be in an area with good network coverage, you don’t even need to use your precious data. Simply download the maps of the area you are travelling to before you leave, and use them offline when you get there. This is one of the most popular Google Maps tips and will work both at home or abroad.
5. Use Google Maps to plan meals
Unfortunately Covid-19 has put an end to just dropping into restaurants to see if a table is available. We need to pre-book most meals, especially when we are away. Google Maps can help you with that. You can find the best fish restaurant, top brunch spot, or find out what’s trending in a particular area, by using the ‘Explore’ tab. You can also filter by ‘good with kids’, ‘outdoor tables’ ‘sea views’ etc. Want to know what the most popular dish is in a particular restaurant? You can do that too, in Google’s popular dish feature.
6. Use Google Maps ‘Live View’ mode
I use to find it awkward using Google Maps when walking. I found myself turning my phone upside down, trying to figure out the correct way to go. Not anymore! With Google Maps new ‘Live View’ function, augmented reality (AR) will guide you in the right direction with arrows, directions and augmented sign posts.
7. Remember where you parked
This is something that I must remember to use myself! If you have parked in a strange city, or even a multi-storey car park, trying to find your car is not always easy. By using the Google Maps parking location feature it will bring you back to where you parked. Simply tap the blue dot and then tap “save your parking” on Android or “set as parking location” on IOS to add your parking location to the map. Easy peasy!
I hope you enjoyed my Google Maps tips, and that they help you with your next staycations. If you like my travel tips, you can see more here.
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