Traveling for the Holidays? 7 Google Maps Tips You’ll Want to Use

Traveling for the Holidays? 7 Google Maps Tips You’ll Want to Use

During the holiday season, travel increases significantly. And whether you’re planning to catch a flight or spend a few hours on the road, using Google Maps to help you navigate can help ease the stress of travel.

There are tons of ways to use Google Maps to make travel easier, from quickly getting around the airport to using the Maps app offline. Check out some of the app’s best features for vacationers below.

For more travel adviceunsubscribe must-have gadgets for international travelhow to travel without using up your vacation days and when is the best time to shop for plane tickets.

1. Navigate through airports and train stations

Google Maps app on phone

Get around airports with Maps.

Clifford Colby/CNET

If you need to quickly find a store in a large shopping center or transport hub, Google Maps extends its Guide tab for all airports, shopping centers and transport stations. This can help when you’re running around the airport trying to find a place to eat or grab a last-minute souvenir before catching your flight.

The tab will tell you a destination’s business hours and what floor it is on. You can browse through restaurants, shops, lounges and parking lots.

2. See how busy an attraction is

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To see how busy a place is, check Google Maps’ Business tool. You could already search for a location, such as a business, to see a graph showing how crowded it is in real time. Now a feature called Area Busyness lets you see when entire map areas are clogged with people.

To use the new feature, you open the Google Maps app on your Android or iPhone (or your computer’s browser) and move around the map to find a general area, for example downtown, a river walk, or a cute nearby town. The businesses information will now automatically appear on the map, so you don’t have to search specifically for a location to see how busy it is. Google Maps might say something like “Busy area” and when you click for more details it might say, for example, “As busy as it gets.”

3. Enter your itinerary in Google Maps

Google Maps can map your vacation travels, but it can also quickly show you your flight, hotel, car rental, and restaurant reservations, saving you the trouble of searching through your email for check-in times and confirmation numbers.

To see your upcoming bookings:

1. Type in Google Maps Stored in the bottom menu row.

2. Type Reservations. Here you’ll see a list of upcoming bookings you’ve made that Maps has pulled from emails in Gmail.

3. Select an item to see more about the reservation, including date and location.

4. You can also search for “my bookings” in the Google Maps search box to see a list of what you have booked.

4. Make a restaurant reservation

Planning a dinner party with a large group for the holidays can be a hassle, especially when you’re going at a busy hour. Google Maps can help you book a lunch or dinner reservation. Here’s how.

1. Tap in Maps the Restaurants button at the top of the map to see a list of places to eat.

2. Select a restaurant that looks good, and in the window that appears, reserve a table or join a waiting list, if it gives you that option (not all do).

Remember that you can use the business feature mentioned above to select the least crowded place. Also note that some restaurants that are closed for dinner may still allow delivery, curbside pickup, or outdoor seating.

5. Use Google Maps offline

Are you heading to a remote location where you may not have a mobile network connection? Google Maps can still give you directions when you’re offline.

1. Before you step out, search inside Cards for the place you want directions to.

2. In the location window, pull up the menu on the bottom.

3. Scroll right through the tabs and tap Downloadand then tap in the next window Download again. Maps will download a map to your phone for the area you selected.

Now, while you’re using Google Maps for directions in the area for which you’ve downloaded a map, Maps will switch to the offline map to guide you when you lose your cellular connection. Note that Maps will not be able to provide real-time traffic information because you are offline.

6. Find EV charging stations anywhere

If you’re taking your electric vehicle out for shopping, dinner, or a vacation, Google Maps can help you find it EV charging stations
on your route, along with estimated wait times for a charging port. You can also filter your search by connector type — such as J1772, CCS (Combo 1 or 2) and Tesla — to see only the stations compatible with your EV. Note that you can also search for gas stations by following the same directions. (Here’s how you can save money at the pump.)

1. In Maps, scroll through the tabs at the top of the screen and tap More.

2. Scroll down to the Services section and select Electric vehicle charging.

3. Maps will show nearby charging stations and how many are available.

4. Tap a charging station on the map to have Maps add it as a stop on your journey.

You can also use this trick to search for other places along your route, such as a coffee shop.

7. Share your location with others

Is there anything more frustrating during a group activity than when the group breaks up and no one can find each other? Google Maps can help bring you all back together.

1. In Google Maps, tap your profile icon in the top right corner and tap Location sharing.

2. Type share location, and choose who you want to share your location with and for how long.

3. Type Shareand Google Maps will send your location to everyone you’ve selected.

4. If you want to see someone else’s location, tap that person’s icon at the top of the window, then tap Request.

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