3 Google Maps Hacks for your Next Road Trip

Google Tour Builder

It’s been a while since my last blog post. One of the reasons, next to work-related priorities disguised as New Year’s resolutions, was a two week period of almost complete offline worshipping. During that time I ate a lot of Christmas cookie, but most importantly went on a road trip through Namibia. From Orange River to Dead Vlei, Swakopmund and all the way back to Cape Town via Windhoek – we spent a loooot of time in the car, driving almost 5,000 km. Even though it is also great joy to explore your route with the help of a simple map (the one made out of paper), Google Maps is one of my favorite navigation helpers on extended trips like this. I already learned a lot on my Europe road trip in September 2013, which I wish I had known before. But now that I’m a bit wiser, with every new trip I become a bit more of a Google Maps expert. Here are my top 3 tips hot to make the best out of Google Maps for your next road trip:

Before Your Trip - Save Your Maps for Offline Use

While you’re still at home, doing some research for your travel plans and enjoying the wonder of fast and invisible WiFi, get prepared for some internet outage during your trip. Luckily, you don’t rely on mobile data to use Google Maps, if you organize your locations and directions prior to your departure. Just use your phone to check out those parts of the maps which you might need later and insert “OK maps” into the search field. This will cache the current map details for later use, like in the desert.

On the Road - Get Recommendations for Things to Do Around You

This is a very cool hack I just recently discovered. Zoom into the part of the map that is relevant to you at at specific moment and simply add the asterisk (*) into the search field. Et voilà:

Google Maps Recommendations

Back Home – Tell an Epic Digital Story

Google Tour Builder is one of the new features that really intrigued me. So far, I’ve only set up a tour for demonstration purposes, which you can check out here. But the possibilities that are offered by combining maps, Google Earth, photos, videos and text are endless.

Google Tour Builder


I can never learn enough about Google Maps and Earth. What are your favorite tips and tricks?

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