For 2016 I have set my sights on visiting 1 destination each month. Whether this travel be by plane, train or automobile I want to get out and explore. I have been blessed with marrying the love of my life this past October which means we have a blank canvas to design together.
My wife, Sunny, had not travelled out of California all that much until we met in 2011. She had been to France and Boston. Other than that 25 of her BS (Before Steve) years were spent in the Bay Area or Los Angeles. Since we started dating we have been to Scottsdale, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, NYC, Connecticut, NOLA, Portland, Belize (honeymoon) and other Caribbean islands on a cruise.
The planning of each trip always gets my heart pumping as I see the excitement grow in Sunny as we design our travel itinerary.
So far for the upcoming year we have a trip to Seattle planned for January 15-18 and Austin February 23-29. We have created a Google Map of Seattle and pinned places we want to see, places we want to eat at, as well as breweries recommended to us. We always enjoy a good Microbrew recommendation!
Google Maps has been around for a long time, but the features associated with it for mapmaking make travel simple. I strongly utilize the Layers feature as well as the obvious Directions tool.
Using Layers is simple. Just like Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign this tool allows the user to create plains which can be visible or hidden at their discretion. As we can see I have 4 category layers: Hotel, Places to Eat, Places to Drink/HAPPY HOUR, and Places to See. Each layer is color coded to differentiate between each pinpoint, making things easier when identifying between food, attractions, and local watering holes if I am viewing each layer all at once.
When we click one of the category check marks a layer is hidden and there are less pinpoints to worry about. So, once Sunny and I are done with the Bill Speidel Underground Tour at 2pm on Saturday, we can hide Places to See and now all that is visible is food and drink.
Another tool is the Directions layer. As we plan to utilize public transportation and our legs most of the time what better than mapping out a days adventures before hand? (Especially considering wet Seattle weather and a mobile phone is no bueno..)
By selecting your position on the map and the pinpoint you want to reach, a direct path is displayed on your computer, phone or any Google accessible device. With an additional click I can even see step-by-step directions too if need be.
Hey Steve, I hear the coffee is great in Seattle. What you say?
You might be onto something, Voice... Let's check out the OG Starbucks in Pikes Places, I hear people like it..
Best of all, the entire map is synced with my Google Maps app on my Phone.
Google Maps is one of the many tools readily available to anyone for free. It is not the only tool we use to plan our travel, but by far one of our favorites when it comes to designing our travel plans.
If you have found this post useful or have any other suggestions please share and add your comments below.