Using Google Maps to Plan your Holiday

Plan your itinerary with this simple tool

02 October, 2011 by

Whether your destination for your next holiday is to Singapore or Japan, Google Maps makes for a great alternative to other travel programs when planning your itinerary. The combination of searchable areas of interest, simplicity of use and pain free map sharing with your friends is hard to beat. Better yet, almost everyone ought to already have a Google account and My Places, users can plan their itinerary easily using custom maps.

Google Map's My Places.

My Places integrates fully with the existing Google Maps functionality that everyone is familiar with. Searching for attractions and plotting out the route of transport between any two places is quick and painless. Like Google Docs, you can grant access to friends and collaborate together on a single itinerary too.

Note though, the transport maps aren’t as comprehensive in Japan as they are for Singapore. Google Maps’ directions functions for Singapore are pretty awesome, flat out beating even the local in terms of accuracy. I’ve ended up with out dated bus routes and even outright erroneous information when trying to plot out transport routes with Singapore’s Street Directory but never with Google Maps.

Planning with Google Maps.

You can right click any area on the map to add a placemark. You can input details of your destination and change the icon to match your needs. There are a generous number of pre-made travel themed icons provided right out of the box but you can also load in your own custom graphics too. I also find it generally useful to color coordinate your goals some way or other.

Marking your accommodation on the map is a given. With your hotel or hostel marked down, you can easily find the distance and means to travel to other destinations.

Creating a new placemark.

This being Google, the easier way to plan and create placemarks is to search for existing marked areas. There are two ways to search for places, through the search bar or by choosing “What’s Here” on any area of the map to find nearby places of interest.

Google Maps itself is a community effort and many places of interest may have been marked out by other users on their maps. Often attractions, restaurants etc already have their details filled out (such as their telephone number and opening hours) by the businesses. You can import these places of interests (complete with their details) as placemarks onto your own map by just clicking on the “Save to My Maps” option.

Import detail community information to your maps.

And now with the magic of smart phones, you can access your itinerary on Google Maps even while on the go. An active 3G connection while traveling would be too costly, so instead save the area of the map you’re visiting for offline access on individual days. As a last minute resort, you could always make use of the free Wi-Fi at cafes too.

Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.


Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Sony RX100-2.