About a year ago, I decided to take a trip around the world. I booked a cruise, as I hate flying and began planning the excursions that I would take when the ship docked at each port in the countries that I was going to visit.
I had never visited any of the countries that I was going to visit, or those that I had been to had been a very long time ago and in a completely different location than where my cruise ship was headed for. So I grabbed my itinerary and made a list of all the ports where the ship was due to call at and exactly how much time I had at each port.
Of course, I wanted to make the most of my trip, so I turned to online help in order to effectively plan my cruise. The first thing I realized that I needed was a list of things to do within travelable distance of each port. What better place to look than Google Maps? All I did was visit the maps website and type in the name of the port. The page zoomed in on the rough location and from there I just chose the “search nearby’ option. This is an easy feature to use if you know what kind of things you like to do. For me, the things I searched for was restaurants, beaches, golf clubs, health spas and water sports as these are the things I am most interested in. From here, I could find the nearest activities so I could plan a fun day out and get to see each country in the way that I wanted to.
I never like to get lost. I manage to get myself lost even in my own hometown, so using the streetview feature on Google Maps is really helpful. At each location, I was able to drag that little yellow Google man onto the map and then I could see a streetview of the location that I was going to. Unfortunately, it didn’t work all that well, because there are many countries where the Google team hasn’t been with their fancy cameras so the option to use streetview just wasn’t available. In places like Madeira, Africa and much of Malaysia, I found that I couldn’t use the streetview feature, but even so, there are photos of important landmarks. All in all what this gives is a good idea of what to expect in each place. When I was planning on what to do in New Zealand and Singapore, for example, I was able to ‘walk’ down all the streets near the places I wanted to go so I could see the places where I should avoid or the places that looked interesting..
My fun with Google Maps didn’t stop there! I took my smart phone with me on my 6-month cruise, and I was lucky enough to be able to get quite good 3G reception in most areas. This meant I could turn on my GPS and my 3G and use Google Maps to help me navigate through the towns that I visited on my travels. I didn’t get lost once, and can honestly say that Google certainly managed to make my life much easier with their maps service!