Holidays are always packed with barbecues, festivals and weekend trips to your favorite relaxation spot. The bad news is holidays can be hectic and there’s always a ton of preparation involved. The craziness kicks up another notch, especially if you are traveling.
Fortunately, Google Maps provides some great tools to help you reach that special destination. To many, Google Maps is just a navigation system, but, the website and app provides so many more services.
Here are eight great Google Maps features to help your holiday run smoothly.
How to use Google Maps offline
Depending on where you are traveling to, you may not have the best internet connection. Google Maps allows you to download directions prior to your trip and lets you use the navigation once the internet goes down.
To find this feature, search for the location you are traveling to and find the ‘directions’ button. From here, swipe over to the tab that says ‘download.’
If this option isn’t provided to you, select the options menu by pressing the three horizontal lines in the top left of the screen. Once you’re in the menu, press ‘offline maps.’
The only downside to this feature is you won’t be rerouted if you take a wrong turn or if there is an accident.
Share location with family and friends for safety
As a safety precaution, it’s always a smart idea to share where you’re going and how you’re getting there with a friend or relative. Google Maps makes this simple for you with the ‘share directions’ option.
When you select the directions button to begin your route, the share option will be found if your press the three horizontal dots next to ‘your location.’ This feature could also come in handy if you are traveling with a large group of people and taking multiple vehicles.
Avoid tickets with speed limit information
With all that’s going on during the holidays, you could be running late and trying to make up for lost time. Or, you’re overly excited and driving just a bit too fast.
Good news, one of Google Maps’ relatively new features is for speed limits, which also provides speeding camera location. With your speed being posted at the bottom left of the map, it is placed in a very convenient location to remind you to slow it down.
If you’re coming up on an intersection that has a speed camera, a small camera icon will pop up on the screen as well.
Keep everyone posted on your your location
If you’re heading to an area that’s packed with people and you’re trying to let a friend know where you are, Google Maps will let you drop a pin and send the approximate location.
This could help a ton if you’re holiday weekend is being spent at a festival or on the beach, which typically doesn’t have an address.
To drop a pin, move the map with your finger and once you are at your desired location, press and hold until the red marker shows up. Once the pin is dropped, select the share option and your method of sharing.
Google Maps can let you know when it’s time to leave
There’s no need to worry if you are someone who doesn’t keep track of time well. With the ‘time to leave‘ feature, Google Maps will send reminders when it’s time to hit the highway.
To turn on these notifications, sign into Google Maps and go into the settings menu in the upper left corner. Once in settings, select notifications then turn on ‘time to leave‘ by sliding the white icon to the right.
Find out where the locals eat
Although this won’t help you navigate, it’s an excellent feature if you’re looking for a great place to eat and celebrate. The app will provide details on a ton of restaurants such as reviews, photos and sometimes menus.
Once you type in the restaurant of your choosing, the app will also show you popular hours at the restaurant so you can see when it may be busy and hard to get a table.
Learn about great tourist attractions along the way
If you’re planning a fun family road trip, you may be considering a few stops along the way to your destination. Rather than searching for directions to each individual location, Google Maps lets you add stops in-between point a and point b.
To add a stop, begin navigating to your end destination. Once Google Maps starts its initial route, press on the bottom bar where it shows the time and distance to the location. When the options screen shows up, select ‘search along route’ and type in your new stop.
Easy way to get a ride-share
If you don’t feel like driving anywhere, Google Maps also makes calling a Lyft or Uber easy. Sometimes ride services don’t always come up with the best routes to a location, so, using google maps helps you select your route and send it to a driver.
To call a ride from Google Maps, type in your location and press directions. After your route is provided, select the icon of the waving person just below the name of your destination. This option will even show you the price differences between Lyft and Uber.