How To Plan A Road Trip With Google Maps For A Stress Free Trip

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If you are planning a road trip coming up, you are going to love using Google Maps to make it a wonderfully stress free trip! This is how to plan a road trip with Google Maps to help you for your next trip. 

how to plan a road trip with google maps

I love planning trips, but for some reason, road trips always stress me out. Once I started using Google Maps, it has helped our trip be so much less stressful because we know where we’re going and have so many different options for the trip.

We’ll go over how to plan a road trip with Google Maps, the best road trip planner, how to create itinerary Google Maps, and Google Maps trip planner tutorial.

This post is all about how to plan a road trip with Google Maps for a stress free trip. 

How To Plan A Road Trip With Google Maps: 

Sign In With Your Google Account

The best way to plan a road trip on Google Maps is to ensure you are logged in to your Google Account (the same as your Gmail or YouTube account). This will allow you to save the trip itinerary and access it from multiple devices.

Create a Saved List For The Road Trip

Before you start, you will need to create a specific list for this trip. On a desktop, go to Menu, Your Places, Saved, and +. On a phone, go to Saved and + New List. You’ll want to name your list something like “Florida Road Trip” so you know exactly which list to save your locations to once you get started. This will also be how you see your list in full. It will show you a nice route to follow once you have everything added.

Research Stops

how to plan a road trip with google earth

This is one of my favorite parts of planning a trip! General research about the trip to find all the good things to do, see, and eat! It gets me so excited for the trip and the more you research the more cool things you can find. I usually love looking at Pinterest for all my trip inspiration and then head over to Google for the more general tourist stops.

And sometimes on a road trip, you will stop through some small towns that don’t have much information on them so I will turn to Google Maps and search for tourist attractions and restaurants and look at the top-rated locations.

Some things you are looking for on your road trip:

  • Unique stops
  • Sightseeing
  • National or State Parks
  • Restaurants
  • Rest Stops
  • Hotels
  • City Centers

> Related Post: How to Plan an Itinerary | 10 Simple Steps You Need to Plan the Perfect Trip

Save All the Stops

google maps trip planner tutorial

Now for getting all your good research information into Google Maps. You can simply throw the item into the search bar and then Save it to your Road Trip List you made earlier. Just make sure you pick the right item because sometimes there are two or even restaurants with the same name, etc.

The beauty in this step is to save everything. You will likely have 50-100 items on your list and that’s okay! This will give you flexibility and options along the way. To see all your spots on the map go to your Saved tab and select the list and it will show only that list and all the spots along the entire route!

Extra Tip:

And a word of the wise, don’t save a city (e.g. St. Louis) as a stop on your list unless you are looking to drive directly to the middle of it. This happened more times than I care to admit and we would have to backtrack to our hotel or activity.

Tip #2:

Make sure you save the National Park entrance and not the middle of the park! They are so large sometimes with multiple entrances, so you may have to do your research.

Download Google Maps App on phone

best road trip planner

Before you go, please make sure you actually have the Google Maps App on your phone! The Apple Maps won’t help you here. It’s free to download and just be sure you sign in to the same Google account you used to make your list.

Open the List on Wi-Fi Each Morning

Each morning before we left our hotel, I would be sure to open the app and get an overview of where we were going. I would also zoom in to the area so it could load and if we didn’t have any service, I could still follow the map old school style. And if you start the route before losing service, it will stay will you the whole way, it just won’t be able to recalculate your route or give an updated time if you stop unless you have service. Lastly, you can download the maps to specific stops or cities by going to the city in Google Maps and swiping over next to Saved, Label, Share and Download. This will allow you to see the whole map with no internet service, but it may take a while to download so be sure to do so ahead of time!

Set Multiple Stops

create itinerary google maps how to plan a trip on google maps

One of the great things about using Google Maps is that it allows you to set multiple stops in one go. Just press the three dots in the upper right and select Add Stop. This way if you know you are driving through a dead range and you want to stop at multiple stops along the way, you can set it all up ahead of time. Just don’t close out of the app once you start it because you’ll have to reset the whole thing. It will give you a total trip time estimate when adding everything and then give you the time and distance estimate for the next stop as you have the directions going.

You can also add a stop once you have directions started but it will add it before you arrive at your next destination, so just be sure you have it in the right order. Select the magnifying glass to add a stop along your route. You can look at the route overview to ensure you have the right order. Select the two arrows at the bottom to do so.

Keep the Sound on During Long Stretches

Definitely, a lesson learned the hard way. Be sure to keep the navigational sound on if you are going on a long stretch of highway. She won’t talk at all until it is time to change freeways or exit. When you are going for so long on one road you can forget to check the navigation so having her shout out when it’s time is helpful. We usually keep her off when we are in a town though because I find it easier to read it out myself, but whatever works for you!

Search for Gas Stations Along Route

how to use google maps to plan a road trip plan a road trip with multiple stops

One of the great things about Google Maps is that you can search within your current route for things that are along the way, including gas stations and restaurants! With just a few clicks (magnifying glass and gas stations) you can see the closest gas stations to your route and it will even give you reviews and how much time it will add to your overall trip. Super helpful when someone has to use the restroom or gas is getting dangerously low!

Don’t “Kill” the App

Once you kill the app (by closing the app completely), you will lose the current navigation. This is especially a pain in the butt if you have no service or had multiple stops going. Occasionally, it will resume but I haven’t been lucky every time. Just don’t kill the apps on your phone unless you know you have service, just to be safe!

Stay Flexible

Lastly, you definitely won’t be able to get to all the stops you have saved, and that’s okay! They are there to help you in the long run. You would rather have too many stops than not enough. And you will likely add more along the way by talking to other people or seeing all the signs along the way. Staying flexible will help you have a less stressful road trip and allow you to really enjoy every moment!

This post was all about how to plan a road trip with Google Maps for a stress free trip!

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We’re Alicia & Nate, a couple that traveled full-time for 3 years straight. We are now living in a cozy little apartment in Albania. We have a passion for exploring new places and trying new foods.


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