To conclude this series on Google Maps tips for finding your perfect villa or hotel, we are going to now look at how Google Maps can help us plan things around that villa or hotel.
As recap, in part one we covered
1. How to use the right keywords
2. Using “search nearby” the right way
and in part two, we used some serious (but easy once you know them) geeky tips
3. How to find the location of a place for which you only have a name
4. Finding the exact coordinates of a place
5. Snooping on a villa or hotel using Satellite view
6. The power of Streetview
Part three is going to show you
7. how to create your own Google Map
8 and 9. how to access your maps offline
10. How to measure distance between two tips
And you get to download a 12 page workbook and worksheets to help you implement all of these tips!
Google maps tips #7: create your own map
One thing that I find very useful when I look for villas to rent is to actually place them on my own Google map. This allows me to show them to Mr Big and be able to quickly answer his questions such as “how far is it from the sea, village, airport”.
This is achieved by using the “my map” function in Google. Follow those steps to create yours:
- Step 1: On Google maps, click on the “hamburger” menu on the left-hand side. This is the image that has three lines on top of each other and looks like this:
Here, you’ll see the choice for “My Maps”. It’s the 6th item on the list
Clicking on this opens a new window with a red top. Below you see my list of “my maps” and at the bottom, you see the option to “create my map”
- Step 2 – When you click on “create map”, it opens a new window which is your blank canva. Here are the various steps to take
First, click on the “untitled map” box, it will allow you to change the name of the map so that you can remember it in your list later on.
You can also add a description, which can be helpful if you intend to share your map with others or to make it public later on.
Then type your hotel, villa or destination address or city in the search bar at the top
When you click enter or the search button, you’ll see something like this
It added a marker (in green) and a box. You just need to click on “add to map” to record that marker on your map. It has now become red.
You can keep adding different markers on the map. For instance, the airport, a great restaurant that was recommended to you in the area, an activity for kids, etc..
- Step 3- If you want to get more fancy, you can customise your map as follows.
Click back on your marker and you’ll see a box appearing with a few symbols at the bottom. Hover over each of the symbol to see what they do. They are
- pen to edit the description. If you click on the drop down arrow at the top of that window, you can also make it that your editing is actually changing the name of the marker
- camera: allows you to add a photo
- arrow: to see and record directions to the place
- bin: to delete it
If you want to have your markers look different depending on what they represent (a hotel, a restaurant, an interesting tourist site, etc..) you need to go to the left hand on your map and point your cursor to the name of your marker.
You will now see a tilted black and white square meant to resemble a paint box.
Click on this and here are all the options you now have:
You can even choose one of those fancy icons by clicking on “more icons”
Now that you have completed your map, the options to use them are available by clicking on the three dots at the top right corner of the main box on the left
Some of these options (such as saving the map) are only available if you create a Google account of course.
You can also share the map via a private URL using the “share” function. You have the option of keeping it private or to make it public.
From now on, you can access your maps via “my maps” as shown above and add to them or create new ones.
Google maps tips #8 and #9: two ways to access your map offline
I always find it a bit of a pain to have to print my maps so that I can follow directions later. If you go to different places, you end up with a lot of paper!
You can always try to access Google maps while walking or helping your driving partner by looking info on your phone at his side (of course never look at your phone while driving!) but sometimes the connection is not good.
So I have two options for you
- send your map to your device
- access your map offline
Send your map to your device
For this, you first need to have downloaded the Google maps application on your phone if you’re not on Android.
Also make sure that you are signed in to Google (as you would have been asked to do for some of the tips I showed you before anyway).
Lastly, you’ll need to enable notifications for the app so that you are alerted when you send a location to the device.
- open the app and slide to the left
- you’ll see the menu and you need to choose “settings”
- click on “notifications” and then “sent from desktop maps”.
Then it’s as easy as looking up a location on your desktop and clicking the “send to my phone” button.
Clicking on it will reveal a list of all devices you currently have the feature enabled on. Clicking on the device name results in a Google Maps notification being sent to your phone, and when opened it takes you directly to the place.
Access your maps offline
This one should be easy but actually finding the “offline” option took me some time so here is how to do it step by step.
You have to be on your phone for this
- Go to Google maps and search for the location you want
- Once you have this, click on the white bar at the bottom with the name of the place
- It pulls up a box with more information but wait, where is the “offline” function?
- Well, you see those three dots on the upper right corner on the photo? That’s what you have to click on
- Now, that gives me the white box with the “save offline map” option
- You can now zoom in our out to save the area you want. Google Maps only allows you to download a 50km x 50km portion of a map to your device.
- Then click “download”
- Next time you’re about and want to view your offline maps, you will find them in your hamburger menu under “your places” and scrolling down to “offline maps”.
Please note that saved areas of maps are automatically cleared after 30 days on your device.
Google maps tips #10: measure the distance between two places
This is quite a neat tip if you want to see how far your villa is from the beach or a site or anything of interest to you.
You have to do this on your desktop though as it doesn’t work on your mobile phone.
Here are the steps to take
- Open Google Maps.
- Right-click on your starting point.
- Choose Measure distance.
- Click anywhere on the map to create a path you want to measure. Click to add additional measuring points.
- Optional: Drag a point to move it, or click a point to remove it.
- You can now see a black line linking both points and a search box at the bottom that gives you the total distance in both miles (mi) or kilometers (km).
Here i measured the distance between a villa address in Cap Ferret, France (which I picked randomly) and Chez Hortense, a very famous (and delicious) restaurant. I can now see that it’s 582 meters so close enough to walk there.
If you want to measure other areas, make sure to right click again and select Clear measurement or go to the card at the bottom and click the.
I hope that all these tips have been helfpul and that you feel more confident about navigating Google Maps to plan and organise your next holidays.
The lucky people on my email list will soon receive two extra tips and a cheat sheet so if you don’t want to miss out, sign up below!