Thanksgiving Travel 2022: 8 Essential Google Maps Features for Surviving the Holidays

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year to travel. This year, according to the AAA, 55 million Americans will travel over the long holiday weekend, including about 4.5 million people taking a plane. This is close to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

But some of us haven’t traveled in a few years, and flights are more stressful than ever.

Whether you’re flying to family or driving to friends, there are a variety of ways to use Google Maps to make travel easier. Here are some of the app’s best features for travelers.

For more travel adviceCash essential gadgets for international travel and how to travel without using up your vacation days.

1. Navigate through airports and train stations

Google Maps app on mobile

Google Maps can tell you how busy a restaurant is.

Angela Lang/CNET

If you need to quickly find a store in a large mall, Google Maps expands its directory Tab for all airports, malls and transit stations. This can be helpful if you’re wandering around the airport trying to find somewhere to eat or snag a last-minute souvenir before catching your flight.

The tab shows you a destination’s business hours and what floor it’s on. You can search restaurants, shops, lounges and parking lots.

2. See how busy an attraction is

Currently running:
Look at that:

Google Maps Immersive View shows building interiors


Google added a new feature Google Maps employment tool. You can already search for a location, e.g. B. a company to display a chart showing how crowded it is in real time. Now, with a new feature called Area Busyness, you can see when entire map areas are clogged with people.

To use the new feature, open the Google Maps app on your Android or iPhone (or in your computer’s browser) and move around the map to find a general area, e.g. B. the city center, a river promenade or a quaint town nearby. Activity information is now automatically displayed on the map, so you don’t have to search for a place to see how crowded it is. Google Maps can say something like “Busy area” and if you click on more details it might say “As busy as it gets”.

3. Enter your travel route in Google Maps

Google Maps can track your travels, but it can also quickly show you your flight, hotel, rental car, and restaurant reservations, and saves you the trouble of sifting through your email for check-in times and confirmation numbers.

To see your upcoming reservations:

1. On Google Maps, tap Saved in the bottom menu bar.

2. Beat reservations. Here’s a list of upcoming reservations you’ve made that Google Maps has pulled from emails in Gmail.

3. Select an item to see more about the reservation, including date and location.

4. You can also search for “My Reservations” in the Google Maps search box to see a list of your reservations.

4. Make a restaurant reservation

Planning dinner with a large group can be a chore, especially when you’re going at a busy hour. Google Maps can help you reserve lunch or dinner. Here’s how.

1. In Maps, tap this restaurants Button at the top of the map to view a list of restaurants.

2. Select a restaurant that looks good and reserve a table in the window that opens, or join a waiting list if you have that option (not all).

Remember that you can use the activity feature mentioned above to choose the least packed location. Also note that some restaurants that are closed for restaurant dining may still allow deliveries, curbside pickups, or outdoor seating.

Google Maps logo on the phone

Let friends and family know when you’re arriving by sharing your location.

Angela Lang/CNET

5. Use Google Maps offline

Going to a remote location where you may not have cellular connection? Google Maps can still give you directions when you’re offline.

1. Before you head out, look inside cards for the location you want directions to.

2. In the location window call up the menu at the bottom.

3. Scroll right through the tabs and tap Downloadand then tap on the next window Download again. Maps downloads a map for the selected area to your phone.

Now when you use Google Maps for directions in the area you’ve downloaded a map for, when you lose cellular connectivity, Maps will switch to the offline map to guide you. Note that Maps cannot offer real-time traffic information since you are offline.

6. Find electric vehicle charging stations everywhere

If you’re driving your EV for shopping, dinner, or on vacation, Google Maps can help you find EV charging stations along your route, along with estimated wait times for a charging port. You can also filter your search by connector type – such as J1772, CCS (Combo 1 or 2) and Tesla – to only show the stations that are compatible with your electric vehicle. Note that you can also search for gas stations by following the same instructions. (So you can save money at the pump.)

1. In Maps, scroll through the tabs at the top of the screen and tap More.

2. Scroll down to the Services section and select Charging electric vehicles.

3. Maps show charging stations nearby and how many are available.

4. Tap a charging station on the map so Maps will add it as a stopover to your trip.

You can also use this trick to search for other places along your route, e.g. B. a coffee shop.

7. Share your location with others

Is there anything more frustrating in a group activity than when the group splits up and no one finds itself? Google Maps can help bring you all back together.

1. On Google Maps, tap your profile icon in the top right, then tap share location.

2. Beat share location and choose who you want to share your location with and how long you want to share it.

3. Beat Splitand Google Maps will send your location to all selected people.

4. To see someone’s location, tap that person’s icon at the top of the screen, then tap inquiry.