Planning vacations can often be a chore in itself. Which hotel to pick? Which restaurants are nearby? How close are nearby attractions? It can all be a bit daunting. We've become well-versed with using Google Maps to find a particular local spot, but have you ever considered using Google Maps to ease the burden of planning your summer escape or vacation?
If you like to set-up an itinerary and plan your vacation around a few attractions, restaurants, or parks, you'll likely use Google Maps to see where all these things are in relation to each other.
Using the "My Places" feature, while signed into your Google account, you can make a custom map for a particular purpose or day. Name the map after your destination, or even be more specific and attach a day to it "Austin - Day One."
Save the locations of interest to your map and a list of all your saved points will populate into a list on the left.
You can also click the "Edit" button to add your own pins, or draw route lines as well - useful for cyclists, or hikers.
Once you're set and satisfied with your plans, you'll need a way to view them on the road — while you're away from a desktop browser. If you have an Android phone you can see your "My Places" by tapping the "Layers" button on the bottom right bar inside Google Maps app.
For iPhone you can do this to some extent with the newly formatted Google maps website — Click the arrow icon on far right and then "My Places."
I however, like to use the Cartographer app as it gives you some added functionality. For instance, with Cartographer you can access your custom maps offline - which could be critical for data savings if traveling overseas.
Pairing Google maps "My Places" and your smart phone can be a powerful travel resource - making the task on moving from one spot to the next more seamless. It's a system I personally use and if you haven't done so yourself it's worth giving a try on your next summer vacation.
(Images: Chris Perez)