Be Your Own Tour Guide with Google’s My Maps

There are two types of travelers in the world: the ones who plan every detail ahead of time, and the ones who show up and wait for awesome to hit them. While the more spontaneous option can sometimes work magic, I prefer to get the best taste of a new place by finding the best of the best in the short time I have. Well this post if made for the over-planners, OCD travel gurus, and those weird people like me who just love to research stuff.

The biggest updates are really the functionality of the program, which cannot be seen in the photos necessarily, but is certainly a huge help when it comes to accessing your pre-made maps on the go. And just a side note. You *cannot make these awesome maps on mobile (or at least if you can it’s not worth it because of the terrible UX and frustration that you will likely encounter). So, If you want to make a map make sure you do it via a computer!

The Old Google My Maps

I made this map about a year and half ago.

The New Google My Maps

I made this map just a few months ago after the new updates.

As far as aesthetics, the color palette changed a few hues and the icons expanded into a few hundred options. I went a bit overboard in categorizing food, drinks and outdoorsy stuff purely because I’ve been making these for a few years and have experienced the frustration of having a hundred icons around you but not knowing which one is a bar or hamburger joint.


The second great update is the ability to easily add images into the posts! You can either add your own image or one from the internet as I did here. I also often copy and paste descriptions from blogs or reviews to give me a even better idea of what their food or environment looks like.

If you travel often, you will likely end up with a nice assortment of maps saved to your google places.

You are also able to make the maps public or share them privately by adding their name to the “shared with” list at the top of each individual map.

How to set up and open maps:

Step 1:

There are two ways to get there. First, you could go to or from within Google Maps (app or desktop). Make sure you are logged in and then select the “hamburger” or menu bar at the top right.

Step 2:

After the menu (hamburger) opens up select “Your Places.” I highlighted this in red on the image on the right.

Step 3:

Select the third tab at the top (maps) and select the map you would like to open or create your first map here.

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