Thanksgiving 2022 Travel: 8 Essential Google Maps Features to Survive the Holiday | Tech US News

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Thanksgiving is one of the biggest travel times of the year. This year, 55 million Americans will travel over the long holiday weekend, according to AAA, including about 4.5 million people who take a plane. This is almost on par with pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

But some of us haven’t been on the road in years, and flying has become more stressful than ever.

Whether you’re flying with family or friends, there are plenty of ways to use Google Maps to make your trip easier. Here are some of the best features of the app for travelers.

For more travel tipsto check must-have gadgets for international travel and how to travel without spending vacation days.

1. Navigate airports and train stations

Google Maps application on the phone

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 is expanding its reach directory tab for all airports, malls and transit stations. This can help when you’re running around the airport trying to find a place to eat or pick up a last minute souvenir before catching your flight.

The tab will tell you the business hours of a destination and what floor it is on. You can search for restaurants, shops, lounges and parking lots.

2. See how busy an attraction is


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Google has added a new feature to their Google Maps Business Tool. You could already search for a location, like a business, to see a chart that showed what’s there in real time. Now, a new feature called Area Busyness lets you see when entire areas of the map are jammed 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, such as downtown, a river walk, or a nearby scenic town . Occupancy information will now automatically appear on the map, so you don’t need to search for a location specifically to see what’s there. Google Maps might say something like “Busy area” and when you click for more details, it might say, for example, “As busy as it is.”

3. Enter your itinerary in Google Maps

Google Maps can map out your travels, but it can also quickly show you your flight, hotel, car rental and restaurant reservations, saving you the hassle of searching your email for check-in times and confirmation numbers.

To view your upcoming bookings:

1. In Google Maps, tap saved in the bottom row of the menu.

2. touch reservations. Here you’ll see a list of upcoming reservations you’ve made that Maps has pulled from Gmail emails.

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

4. You can also search for “my bookings” in the Google Maps search box to see a list of what you’ve booked.

4. Make a restaurant reservation

Planning a dinner with a large group can be a hassle, especially when you’re going at a very busy time. Google Maps can help you book a meal or dinner. Here’s how.

1. In Maps, tap the restaurants button at the top of the map to see a list of places to eat.

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

Remember that you can use the occupancy feature mentioned above to choose the least crowded place. Also, keep in mind that some restaurants that are closed for dinner may still allow delivery, curbside pickup, or outdoor seating.

google maps logo on phone

By sharing your location, let your friends and family know when you’ve arrived.

Angela Lang/CNET

5. Use Google Maps offline

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

1. Before you leave, search maps to the place where you want directions.

2. In the location window, open the menu at the bottom

3. Scroll right through the tabs and tap Downloadand then in the next window touch Download again. Maps will download a map to your phone for the area you selected.

Now, while using Google Maps to get directions in the area where you’ve downloaded a map, when you lose your cellular connection, Maps will switch to the offline map to guide you. Please note that because you are offline, Maps will not be able to provide real-time traffic information.

6. Find electric vehicle charging stations anywhere

Whether you’re taking your electric vehicle out for shopping, dining, or vacation, Google Maps can help you find electric vehicle 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 see only stations compatible with your EV. Note that you can also search for gas stations by following these same directions. (Here’s how 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 to the Services section and select Electric vehicle charging.

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

4. touch to charging station on the map to have Maps add it as a stop on your trip.

You can also use this trick to find other places along your route, such as a coffee shop.

7. Share your location with others

Is there anything more frustrating during a group activity than when the group splits up and no one can find each other? Google Maps can help you get back together.

1. In Google Maps, tap your profile icon in the upper right corner and tap Share location.

2. touch Share location and select who you want to share your location with and for how long you want to share it.

3. touch shareand Google Maps will send your location to all the people you’ve selected.

4. If you want to see someone else’s location, tap that person’s icon at the top of the window, then tap Request.

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