How Google Maps Can Help Vacationers

I used Google Maps incessantly before and while I was on vacation. I don’t have a live GPS locating device so I actually made hi-resolution images of the maps I made ahead of time and then uploaded them to my iTouch device. While it isn’t a good idea to whip out your iTouch in a busy square or in public while touring in a foreign country (actually, pulling out a map in a place where you’re conspicuous or subject to being targeted like a busy square or a train station isn’t that safe either), you can easily sit in a quiet cafe or hotel lobby and check your map while sipping a cup of coffee or tea. I did this a few times in Amsterdam.

Also, if I wasn’t too sure about a place to stay I would look it up online if I could. Many hotels have been rated by travelers. Though sometimes you have to scroll through lists of sponsored links/reviews to get to actual reviews by live people. I wonder if some tourist agencies will get the picture and hire people to write fake but real-sounding consumer reviews.

One thing I did notice, few shops and businesses have actual websites in Europe also, not many were listed by name in Google or other online directories. Who knows, maybe if more people use the web to research their trips then businesses at tourist destinations will start creating a web presence. I think having a web presence is just starting to catch on in some European Countries. If there were places I really liked I did actually write a review for them in Google Maps. I posted reviews for a few that had no previous reference or even names listed in the internet.

Successfully Loaded my Maps on my iTouch

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3 Responses to “How Google Maps Can Help Vacationers”


  1. 1 Mike October 23, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    Hi,

    Great article! Thanks for sharing. It’s neat to think how much technology has changed the travel experience. Travel books and maps can be replaced with mobile devices and online services. Have you found any other tech tools helpful in your travels?

  2. 2 nkilkenny October 23, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    I think that when more cities or businesses start learning how to put up affordable wifi, then we can really reap the fruits of using handheld devices as guide tools. Using google maps LIVE more often would have been great. There might be some sort of business idea there – developing tour guides, maps and materials that cater specifically to travelers. I think to get users on board you’d really have to make usability (easy clicking and access) a priority. Who wants to fumble with menus, tags and dropdowns when you’re in a hurry and you’re using a tiny screened device. When I was able to hook up to wifi I could send IM’s to friends who were online. Picassa is nice for uploading photos as you go along on your vacation, but other than that I’m still a newbie at using tech tools for traveling.

  3. 3 naturalelegance October 24, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    I correlated the picture you took of the cathedral with a map on Wikimapia. That’s how I figured it out.

    Also, I’m surprised that businesses in Europe do not use the web as a form of marketing and outreach. Maybe its more of an American thing?


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