💻 How to Use Google Maps For RV Trips

As the RV lifestyle explodes in popularity across the United States, I see many people asking the same question on social media. What program or app does everyone use to log their RV trips? I prefer Google Maps to keep track of all my trips to America's National Park, State Parks, RV Resorts, Restaurants, and the list goes on. It's FREE and easy to use and it's NOT filled with ads for you to support the app developer. If you have a Google account, you can use Google Maps to create your very own interactive road map. You can even make it "public" and share it with the world like the RV There Yet National Park's map below:

America's National Parks Map
Let's get started showing you how to create your very own RV Road Trip Google Map. This tutorial will be much easier if you use a desktop or laptop computer rather than your smartphone. It can be done, but this tutorial will use screenshots from the Google Maps desktop version.

 Google Maps Icon
First, navigate to www.google.com and log in to your Google account. Once you are logged in, up in the right top corner, click the Google Apps icon in between Images and your Account Icon. This will open a panel containing icons. Locate the icon with the word Maps below it and click the icon to open the Google Maps website. You should now be looking at Google Maps default screen. It will look similar to the screenshot below:

Step 1
Click Google Maps Menu Icon to Access Side Panel Options.

In the upper left hand corner of the screen, you should see 3 horizontal bars. This is the Menu icon. Click it to reveal the menu options side panel. Your computer screen should look like the screenshot below:

Google Maps Side Panel
Click on Your Places to create your own Google Map.

This panel provides many options for you to play with in Google Maps, but we want to create our own RV Road Map, so click on "Your Places" halfway down the side panel. This will open another side panel like the image below:

Google Maps Your Places
Click MAPS to create your own Google Map.

This panel will have LABELED locations like "Home" and "Work" listed along with any SAVED locations and previously VISITED locations. To create our own map, you want to click on MAPS. You are now ready to create your own Google Map. Click CREATE MAP at the bottom of the side bar and the screenshot below is what you will see next.

New Google Map
Add Your Own Map Title and Description

Click on the words "Untitled map" to give your map a title and a description. Make sure to click SAVE to see your changes. Next, click the words "Untitled layer" and add your last RV trip. For this tutorial, I'm using my last trip to the Grand Canyon as shown in the screenshot below.

Google Maps Search
Change Untitled layer to Your Last Trip (ie: Grand Canyon)

Here comes the fun part. To add your first marker to your map, search for the places you went. I stayed at the El Tovar Hotel on the South Rim, so that is my search above. Hit ENTER and Google Maps takes you to your location as seen in the screenshot below.

Google Maps Add to Map
Click + Add to map to add this location to your map.

To add this hotel to your trip, click + Add to map. Notice the hotel is now listed under the Grand Canyon trip on the side bar and the marker has been added to your map as seen in the screenshot below. (marker changed from green to blue)

Google Maps Markers
Adding Markers to Your Google Map (ie: El Tovar Hotel)

Adding markers is the easiest way to create your own Google Map. The first map in this tutorial is a marker map with 62 National Parks listed, and you may have noticed the markers are RV icons. To change your icon from the default marker, hover over the words "El Tovar Hotel" in the side bar and a paint can will pop up on the right side of the panel. Click the paint can and a panel pops up that will let you change the color of the icon and choose from hundreds of different icons as seen in the screenshot below.

Google Maps Icons
Choose From Hundreds of Different Icons and Colors

The screenshot below shows three different trips listed with activities under each trip. Notice the different color icons represent the same trip. To create a new trip, click the ADD LAYER button on the side bar. To add new destinations to a trip, make sure the layer is selected before adding locations to your map.

Google Map RV Trips
Click Add Layer button for each new trip.

There is so much more to learn in Google Maps, so I urge you to go poke around and have some fun. You can use your Google Maps to SHARE with your family so everyone knows your itinerary. You can pre-plan your trip complete with directions and follow your map on your smartphone. If you still think you need another driving app, I would reconsider. Give Google Maps a chance and create your own interactive log books.

Feel free to leave your comments and/or questions and I'll be happy to answer them to the best of my knowledge. I hope this tutorial helps you log all your travels living the right lane life.
Jacks Up! I'm out!