We've all been let down by Google Maps at some point in time, but that's mostly because we actually don't know how to make the most of the desktop or mobile version.
There are a lot of easy-to-learn tricks that will make your road trip go off without a hitch! Check them out!
1. Access Google Maps without internet
Google Maps proves its usefulness when you're on the go, which is why everyone should know how to access it offline on their smartphones.
The amount of data and battery Maps uses is too much, so turning the app offline is a smart way to save money and time.
Besides, if you end up in an area where you don't have coverage, offline mode will be a life-saver!
Ahead of time, download the map of the location you are trying to navigate around.
To do this on mobile, open Maps when you're online.
Find the three horizontal lines (also called the hamburger menu) beside "Search here," which will give you a drop down menu. Click "offline maps" and download the area of your choosing. Then you're good to go!
2. Add multiple destinations
If you're on a road trip, or have several places in mind where you want to stop, adding multiple destinations to your route is a helpful visual.
It's also a good tool to prevent you from wasting gas. For example, if you set off to one destination, only to figure out that your next destination involves you having to go closer to your previous destination, things can get confusing and frustrating.
To add multiple destinations on the web, enter your starting and destination point. Below the destination address, you'll see an addition symbol that says "add destination."
On mobile, press the three dots beside the starting point address, and then "add stop."
3. Tilt your phone
I know I'm not the only one who still gets confused when looking on Maps.
The hard part is figuring out exactly which direction you're headed, especially when you're walking.
To prevent yourself from getting disoriented and flustered, simply tilt your phone in different directions so that Maps can figure out what direction you're facing and can help guide you.
4. Look out for traffic
No one likes to be stuck in traffic, where you waste both time and gas.
On the desktop version of Google Maps, you can watch real-time traffic data by clicking on the "Traffic" link on the hamburger menu in the top-left corner.
Here you can find "Live traffic" and "Typical traffic."
This feature is also possible on mobile. Click the same hamburger menu from where you would access offline maps, but instead click on "Satellite & traffic."
5. Check wait times at restaurants
Maps isn't only useful for checking traffic on roads.
You can also check the wait times at your favorite restaurants to avoid wasting time standing in line.
All you've got to do is search the name of the restaurant, then scroll down to the "Popular Times" chart and select a time you want to go.
Then it's up to you what you want to do next.
6. Click where you want to go
If you don't know the exact address of where you want to go, but you can locate it on a map, this trick will come in handy.
On the web version, you can right click anywhere on the map, where you'll be able to add a starting point or destinations.
I highly recommend you try this one, it will save you lots of time!
7. Check for parking (and remember where you parked)
Sometimes there's no point in heading out somewhere if there's no parking spot available for you.
You can figure this out beforehand by plugging in your destination, and looking for a "P" logo at the bottom of the screen.
Here you'll see whether parking is "limited, medium, or easy."
If you found parking, and want to make sure you don't get lost on your way back to your car, Maps will let you save your parking spot.
Simply leave a parking note by tapping on the blue dot (which is where you currently are standing).
You can also set a meter time, where you'll get a notification letting you know when your time is running out.
8. Use voice commands
Playing with Google Maps while driving only jeopardizes your safety.
Instead, tap on the microphone icon to give commands and stay up to date with what's going on.
Here are some useful commands that Maps will understand.
- Turn on voice or Turn off voice
- Mute or Unmute
- Show / Turn On / Display Satellite or Hide / Turn Off / Clear Satellite
- Show / Turn On / Display Traffic or Hide / Turn Off / Clear Traffic
- Show alternate routes or Show other routes
- How else can I get there?
- What’s my next turn?
- How else can I get there?
- What do I do next?
- Where do I turn?
- Where do I get off?
- What exit am I taking?
- How long until my next turn?
- What’s my ETA? (This is how you can figure out your estimated arrival time)
9. Look out for toll roads
I've spent hundreds of dollars on toll roads and never want to have to dish out that cash again.
Because Maps gives you the fastest route to your destination, sometimes it includes toll roads.
If you don't want to shell out the big bucks, select the "option" button on the sidebar on desktop to choose your route options, where you can select "avoid tolls."
Sometimes, Maps will let you know a route has tolls and gives you other possible routes to your destination.
10. Check the footnotes
On the web browser version of Google Maps, you can find some useful information, such as what year the map data is from, what country you're looking at, and the metric system.
I cannot stress how important it is to check what year the map data is from, because a lot can change in a year!
Also, by clicking the metric system, you can switch between a unit of measurement to one you're more familiar with.