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Planning a vacation? Create a custom holiday map with these tools

October 09, 2018 3 min read

Planning a vacation? Create a custom holiday map with these tools

By Ishveena Singh

When it comes to vacations, I’m a self-proclaimed ‘planaholic’. From spending hours devouring myriad travel forums to looking up every single accommodation on Google Street View, I like to make sure I’m signing up for only those adventures and experiences I’m bound to enjoy.

But planning a dream vacation is not the same as executing one. There have been occasions when I bookmarked an attraction but failed to refer back to it or made a mental note of asking the concierge about a service and completely forgot about it.

So, imagine my delight when I stumbled across this free, awesome Hail Mary of a tool which promises to make executing the perfect vacation a breeze. Presenting, a custom holiday map that curates all your ideal itinerary goals into one handy place, complete with pro tips and recommendations from loved ones and travel experts.

There are several online mapmaking tools available to help you get started with personalized vacation maps, but Google My Maps is the most popular of them all. So, let’s begin with a step-by-step guide to that only.

How to create a custom map with Google My Maps

  • Sign into your Google account and go to Google My Maps page. Click on ‘Create A New Map’ tab.

  • Click on Untitled map on the top left menu bar to change the name of the map and hit save. Now, to populate your map with the points of interest (POI), restaurants, hotels, etc., start by typing their names in the search bar. And if by any chance, you have this data saved in an Excel Sheet, you can auto-populate your map by directly importing that file.
  • Once you add a place to the map, you get an edit option that allows you to add notes and pictures for that location. This is especially useful when you want to keep a tab on the opening and closing hours for attractions like museums. Oh, and in case you are driving to a location, you can also ask Google to save driving directions to that POI.

  • Keep adding additional places to the map and access them all conveniently in one place. You also get a host of customization options in terms of the icon colors and styles. All changes you make to the map are auto-saved in your Google Drive.

  • If you want to plan a custom walking tour, you can easily measure the distance between two locations and plot lines along the roads that you would like to follow.

  • To customize the map for each day of your travel, simply add another layer to the map. You can also conveniently share a link to this map with your co-travelers or friends and family.

You can follow the same process in the Google My Maps app also, but I have found that creating an extensive map is much easier on the Web. Small edits or additions to the map can always be made through the app.

Now, let’s talk about other online personalized mapmaking tools.


Artificial intelligence startup TripHappy, which was acquired by Trivago in May 2018, offers a fast and simple custom mapmaking tool. Just pick a place to add to your map and from there, TripHappy will provide you complete guidance in terms of travel guides, reviews, accommodations, sample itineraries, etc. Click on the 'View' button to access this treasure trove of vacay goodness and add additional stops as you go. TripHappy also gives you the option to add notes, search for transportation options, rearrange the destinations, and share the map. No sign-up required!


MapMe specializes in allowing users to create interactive maps that can be embedded with rich multimedia content like photos, videos and even 360-degree or virtual reality tours. Here also you get a wide variety of customization options, with the downside being that you need to create an account to access the platform, and free accounts are limited to only one interactive map per user.

For now, why don’t you bookmark this page and share it with friends and family because it sure is going to come in handy for anyone planning a killer vacation!

About the Author

Photo of Ishveena SinghIshveena is a geospatial enthusiast and a veteran of creating and managing compelling digital content for organizations and individuals. When she is not making magic at her desk, you are likely to find her exploring nature, eating her way through life, or binge-watching funny animal videos.

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