We’re on a journey to become superstar at using Google Maps for our hotel or villa search. Have you tried the tips from part one? Remember they were
1. How to use the right keywords
2. Using “search nearby” the right way
Now that you are confident with those, let’s move on to a more precise search. These Google maps tips are particularly useful when you are looking for that great villa rental for your family:
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
Google maps tips #3: How to find the location of a place for which you only have a name
So you’ve done a first search using search nearby and got a list of results.
Sometimes though, the link to a place’s website doesn’t show up. What you have to do then is just select their name on the results list and do a right click on your mouse.
Then choose ‘search with Google”, this should open a new tab on your browser with a Google search results page.
In my example, le “Mas Saint-Claude” information window does not have a website listed. But by doing a Google search, I get the following results:
The second headline looks promising as people review their one week stay there. I actually happen to know that VRBO is a vacation rental site so that confirms it. And clicking on the link gets us to this
Looks like a good fit for my needs.
Google maps tips #4: Finding the exact coordinates of a place
Sometimes, rental sites show you the map of the area around the property, but not the exact location.
For instance on the VRBO site above, the location only shows me a circle. I have a geeky tip to get a more precise idea of where the house might be.
In Chrome, do a right click on your mouse and choose Inspect element.
This opens another window at the bottom of your screen. This is going to look like Chinese to you as it’s all the coding and background setup of the page but do not worry, I have you covered.
The very simple thing to do is to do CTRL plus F on your keyboard to launch the “find text” function. When this comes up, type or copy the below in the search bar that comes up : https://maps.google.com/maps?
As you can see, doing this immediately highlights in yellow for me the part of the code where that string of text is.
If you click on this and then do another right-click on your mouse, you can now copy that piece of text and paste it into a notepad or any word processing program. You’ll have something like this
From there, you select what is after the ? of “https://maps.google.com/maps?”, this is the longitude and latitude of the location.
So in the example above, I can just copy the numbers “43.763394,4.965486” and paste this again into Google maps.
and here we go, just above my marker, I see “Mas Saint Claude”!
Still confused? Watch the video tutorial.
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Google maps tips #5: Use satellite view to identify potential issues
Raise your hand if this happened to you: you rented a villa or booked a hotel based on the very appealing photos on their website, but once there, you realise that actually the hotel is next to a busy road or the villa is very close to a waste management factory…
Well, the trick my friends is to not rely only on what they show you on their website, be they the photos or even the location map.
Take the contact details and plug them into Google Maps. Once there, make sure to select “earth” in the bottom left corner.
Now you have what used to be called the “satellite” view of the property. A view from above. You can easily see whether there is a passing road or highway nearby, whether the grocery is indeed very close by or further away than what they say.
Many of you know streetview and would go to that first, but with streetview, you have to “walk” or “drive” along all the roads to figure out the neighbours. With satellite view, you get a much wider view of your surroundings.
Google maps tips #6: Find streetview every time
I love Streetview ! This is another way to really get an idea of where we are going to end up going.
However, if you’ve noticed, often, even if you entered the exact address in Google maps, when you click on Streetview, you end up somewhere in the street at a number which is NOT the right one.
And have you sometimes found it difficult to find said “streetview” option? So I have two tips for you here actually
- in Google Maps, click on the little yellow man in the bottom right corner of your screen
- it’s going to tilt to the left and your cursor will say “explore images (street view). If you click again, streets on the map will become blue indicating a zone that does have street view
- click on the blue lines to view that street
- remember to click to the arrow on the top left corner of the page when you’re done to go back to the map version
You can also “drop” that yellow man anywhere on the map and it will take you into that location’s street view right away.
By the way, did you know that when you are in streetview mode, if you want to go straight to a house on that street, you should just double click on their “door” to get there? Well, now you know (and yes that’s tip 4 bis!)
Oh and here are some other keyboard commands for Streetview
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+ / – allows you to zoom in / out
left / right arrow keys to turn left / right
up / down arrow keys to move forward / backward
A / D to turn left / right
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Now, my other smartfind re Streetview is this site called Instant Street View. It’s genius. It does a much much better job than Google maps to get you EXACTLY where you want on the map.
Just go to the site, enter your exact address or a street / village, path, etc. and zouh, here you are!