How many people research their destination when they head on vacation? Very few as most people do not leave the resort or, if they do leave, they rarely travel further than anywhere walking distance from the hotel, primarily as they don’t know where they are going or haven’t got the time to research the local area.
But, we think you’re missing out. Hire a car, and you can do all the homework you require from your mobile phone. Many times we’ve been in an unplanned shoot location and wanted to find the best coffee shop, a place to grab breakfast or lunch.
How do you achieve this? We don’t hit the internet and start searching. You can find the lot within Google Maps. It’s far more powerful than most people realise. It’s not just a tool to get you from A to B, either. If you dig deeper, it’s a tool you can use to research, locate and find interesting local destinations.
For example, say you hit Wynwood, Miami and you’ve done no homework. Most people would simply get out the car and wander around until they stumble across a restaurant which looks interesting. As this is on the tourist trail, it will no doubt be packed, expensive and take ages to get served. There’s another solution. Stay in the car, park up and get out Google Maps.
Using Google Maps, it will highlight your position. From this, simply go to the search bar at the top of the app. Enter something you want to locate. For example, say you want to find the best coffee shop, just enter ‘coffee shop’ and search. You’ll be presented with a list of nearby options, plus search results where you can see the reviews, photos and get a feel of how it looks. If you’re not happy with the results and you have something else to do, drive on and then it will update based on your current location.
With the latest Google Maps update for iOS (the Android version was updated months ago), Google has added ‘Match’ support, which makes the process of finding the type of location you want to find, more automatic. What Maps will attempt to do is look at the information it has already, including establishments you’ve previously visited, to make suggestions you might like based on the data it has from the local area – it will attempt to match you to a restaurant you’d like.
Of course, some history is required for Google Maps to match you to a successful restaurant or you might find it’s providing very basic best guesses. Even when it can match based on your history, Google says that it will only give you a 75% match, which doesn’t seem that high to us.