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Google Maps, the travel guide: Here are the inside tricks

Google Maps offers more than just maps, Street View and navigation. This map service, with its enormous data collection, can provide more help than you expect on your vacation. We'll show you a few tips which make Google Maps an amazing assistant to your travels and everyday life.

Shorter lines for attractions

You absolutely have to visit the Empire State Building and MoMA? To avoid waiting for two hours and possibly not even getting in, you can find out via Google Maps when lines are at their shortest. Google constantly registers the number of people in a certain area and turns this into helpful data for you. Use it!

google maps busy hours

Avoid rush times using the graph in the description. / © NextPit

This graph displays a few handy things. You’ll know immediately how long guests normally spend at the attraction, and can then consider whether it’s still worth joining the line at 6pm. You also have a comparison between days of the week. For example, if you’re spending a few days in Amsterdam, you’d be well-advised to visit the Anne Frank House on a Wednesday morning.

Arrival countdown for your friends

Driving to a friend? You can let them know when roughly you’ll be arriving, in a modern way. Instead of calling, or risking being called behind the wheel, Google Maps will take over the task of keeping your friend updated.

google maps share progress

Let your friends know how you’re getting on. / © NextPit

Press on the remaining time at the bottom of the navigation display. Then tap on ‘Share trip’. Choose a user from your address book or via telephone number or email address. This friend will be able to track your position and see when you’ll arrive.

google maps see progress

Your friend will receive a notification that you’re sharing your location. / © NextPit

Your friends can regularly check whether your arrival time has changed. Google utilizes traffic information for your route and will factor this into your journey time. If you hit sudden traffic, Google Maps will automatically try to find an alternate route.

Share your route with friends

Planning a trip with or for friends, and want to discuss the route together? Maps can create a plan on a smartphone or computer, including all intermediate destinations. You’re able to send that plan between devices, or share it among your friends.

google maps share directions

Share a journey and all of its stops with your friends. / © NextPit

Tap ‘Add stop’ next to the input bar to add more cities or addresses, or change the destination altogether. Then choose ‘Share Directions’, select the app and send the link to your friends. 

Share the list of places you’ve been

If it’s not a journey you want to recommend but several individual locations, you can sort these into lists and display them to friends. Your buddies will be grateful when they see that you’ve already sought out the best bars and restaurants for them. 

google maps make new list

Add places to a new list… / © NextPit

You first need to find the places on Google Maps and save them into a list. This list can then be shared with friends. You can even make them completely public, so that they can be found on Google.

google maps share list

…and open your list to the public. / © NextPit

To access the lists we need to go to the Main Menu > Your Places > Saved. Once you select a list, tap either the share symbol or ‘Sharing options’ from the menu. The first way will share the link to the list via app, and the second publishes the list in such a way that it’s theoretically visible on Google searches.

Fix the compass

Google Maps sometimes forgets which way is forward. If you see a blue funnel replacing the normal compass needle, and once again pointing the wrong direction, only a roller coaster ride will help. This sounds odd, and looks it too, but you need to draw figures of eight in the air with your phone until the Maps assistant corrects itself. This might occasionally take a minute, but truly works. 

google maps calibrate compass de

Make figures of eight with the smartphone until the compass recalibrates itself. / © NextPit

Always arrive on time

Important appointment? Utilize the synergy between Google Maps and Google Calendar. Input the destination address into the calendar appointment. Via Google Assistant or Now cards, this will then be synchronized across Calendar and Maps, as well as on your smartphone and smartwatch.

google maps get to appointment

Give your appointment a location and Google will help to ensure punctuality. / © NextPit

If you have an Android Wear watch, you’ll be reminded of the appointment through vibrations. On your smartphone you’ll see a corresponding map that shows you how best to travel to your appointment. In case of high traffic on the day of your event, the artificial intelligence will advise you accordingly to leave earlier. You’ll always be warned in time.

You’ll even be reminded of your appointment through your wrist. / © NextPit

If you’ve set a daily appointment for your commute to work, Google will inform you every day of the quickest route in. If, for example, a construction site opens or closes, a street is blocked, or an accident hampers your route, Google will ensure that you’re informed ahead of time. To do this, Google collates the necessary information from Android devices located on the route itself.

Check gas prices on the go

Google Maps makes it easier to save money on gas. Open the app, enter your route, then tap the magnifying glass while in navigation mode. You’ll then be able to select the option to show gas stations along your way. Now, you can see a selection of gas stations on the way to your destination, including the price of gas at each one and the number of minutes off your path it is. So, you can stop wherever the cheapest, most convenient station is.


Be it for travels, daily life or social scheduling, Google Maps offers many tools to make your life quicker and more efficient. Using the data services fully, you’ll discover synergies between individual apps and devices. Maps becomes far more than just a map – it becomes your assistant, informant, and a small improvement to the quality of your life.


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