Make your holiday merry and bright with Google Maps.

The December holiday season is one of the biggest travel periods of the year. As we gear up for another snowy season of travel, we are also gearing up for a stressful one.

Whether you’re flying home to family or driving to friends, there’s a multitude of ways to use Google Maps to help make the journey easier. Here are some of the app’s best features for holiday travelers.
For more travel advice, check out must-have gadgets for international trips and how to travel without using up your vacation days.

1. Navigate through airports and train stations 

holiday travel: 7 google maps features for surviving the holiday season

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 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 grabbing a last-minute souvenir before catching your flight.

The tab will tell you a destination’s business hours and what floor it’s on. You can look through restaurants, stores, lounges and parking lots.

2. See how busy an attraction is


Google added a new feature to its Google Maps’ Busyness tool. Already you could search for a location, like a business, to see a chart that showed how crowded it is in real time. Now a new feature called Area Busyness lets you see when entire map areas are clogged with people.

To use the new feature, you open the Google Maps app on your Android or iPhone (or your computer’s browser) and move around the map to find a general area, say downtown, a riverwalk or a quaint nearby town. The busyness information will now automatically appear on the map, so you don’t need to specifically search for a place to see how crowded it is. Google Maps may say something like “Busy Area” and when you click for more details, it could say, for example, “As busy as it gets.”

3. Input your itinerary into Google Maps 

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

To see your upcoming reservations:

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

2. Tap Reservations. Here, you’ll see a list of upcoming reservations you’ve made that 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 what you’ve booked.

4. Make a restaurant reservation 

Planning a dinner night out with a large group can be a hassle, especially when you go at a busy hour. Google Maps can help you book a lunch or dinner reservation. 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 pops up, reserve a table or join a waitlist, if it gives you that option (not all do).
Remember you can use the busyness feature mentioned above to pick the least packed place. Also, note that some restaurants that are closed to dine-in may still allow delivery, curbside pickup or outdoor seating.

holiday travel: 7 google maps features for surviving the holiday season

Let friends and family know when you’ll arrive by sharing your location. Angela Lang/CNET

5. Use Google Maps offline

Heading someplace remote where you may not have a mobile network connection? Google Maps can still give you directions when you’re offline.

1.Before you head out, search in Maps for the location where you’ll want directions.

2.In the location’s window, pull up the menu at the bottom.

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

Now, as you use Google Maps for directions in the area you downloaded a map for, when you lose your cellular connection Maps will switch to the offline map to guide you. Note that because you’re offline, Maps won’t be able to offer real-time traffic info.

6. Find EV charging stations anywhere

If you’re taking your electric vehicle out for shopping, dinner or a vacation, Google Maps can help you find EV charging stations on 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 just the stations that are compatible with your EV. Note 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 on the top of the screen and tap More.

2. Scroll down to the Services section and select Electric vehicle charging.

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

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

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

7. Share your location with others

Is anything more frustrating during a group activity than when the group gets split up and no one can find each other? Google Maps can help bring you all back together.

1.In Google Maps, tap your profile icon in the top right corner and tap Location sharing.

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

3.Tap Share, and Google Maps will send your location to everyone you’ve selected.

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

TECH NEWS RELATED

Xiaomi phone with Samsung E6 OLED breaks Android display brightness record

Samsung recently showcased its newest OLED panel—E6 Super AMOLED—for smartphones that can reach up to 2,000 nits of peak brightness. It is the same panel used in the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Now, Android smartphone makers have started using the same panel, and Xiaomi’s ...

View more: Xiaomi phone with Samsung E6 OLED breaks Android display brightness record

Pixel 7 bug causes phone to freeze while watching YouTube and YouTube TV

Despite being one of the best Android smartphones on the market, Google’s Pixel 7 suffers from several annoying bugs and problems that users have to contend with. One such bug has actually been plaguing users since the phone launched, but complaints continue to spring up. 9to5Google reports that the ...

View more: Pixel 7 bug causes phone to freeze while watching YouTube and YouTube TV

How to Install Any Add-on in Firefox for Android

When Mozilla launched a re-designed version of Firefox for Android a few years back, it only came with support for a few add-ons – just for the sake of compatibility. Fast forward to present day and the restoration of full add-on support is not yet complete. The good news, ...

View more: How to Install Any Add-on in Firefox for Android

Newest Android version installed on a mere 5% of devices

Android 13 is out of the reach of most users. In contrast, virtually all iPhone owners can install iOS 16. Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac It’s considered somewhat controversial that iOS 16 has been installed on only about 70% of iPhones four months after its release. But that’s a ...

View more: Newest Android version installed on a mere 5% of devices

Just How Popular Is Mobile Gaming on Android Devices?

Mobile gaming exceeded any expectations regarding its profitability and popularity. Today is considered one of the fastest-growing entertainment sectors. It continues to attract new mobile gamers and expand the demographic of the gaming sector. In fact, it is one of the main reasons why gaming has become globally popular. ...

View more: Just How Popular Is Mobile Gaming on Android Devices?

Malware is Sneaking Into Google Search Ads

Malware and viruses always, always, find a way. You need to be extra careful while browsing online, but sometimes, malware can still pop up in the places you least expect it — including in Google Search ads. Hackers and malware developers have set up fake websites for popular pieces ...

View more: Malware is Sneaking Into Google Search Ads

Five months after launching, Android 13 is running on 5.2% of devices

In the past five months we’ve seen smartphone brands update their handsets to Android 13 as well as launch new models running this latest version of Android out of the box. While the likes of Samsung are leading the charge when it comes to issuing OS updates, there are ...

View more: Five months after launching, Android 13 is running on 5.2% of devices

You can now sign up for Twitter Blue on Android for $11 a month

Ahh, Twitter. Gone are the days of applying for and failing to get verification for unspecified reasons, with Musk’s vision of Twitter Blue you can now sign up and pay your way to a verified tick. And from today onwards, you can even do so via the official Twitter ...

View more: You can now sign up for Twitter Blue on Android for $11 a month

Amazon, Meta and Google are actually spending big on clean energy

Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2020) gets Android 13 One UI 5.0 update

10 Best Android Travel Apps To Plan Your Next Trip

First post-Android 13 update to Galaxy A72 brings January 2023 security patch

Galaxy A02 gets a new update but it’s not Android 12

Google is testing way to measure distance between devices via Bluetooth

Only 5.2% of devices running Android 13 five months after launch

Galaxy S10 Lite Android 13 (One UI 5) update reaches the USA

Everything you need to know on how to unlock Bluetooth support on the Stadia Controller

How to back up and delete your Gmail so you don’t have to pay for storage

Google’s rumored AirTag rival could be an Android moment for Bluetooth trackers

US unlocked Galaxy S20 is finally getting Android 13 One UI 5

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News