How to Unleash the Full Potential of Google Maps Saved Places

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If You Use Google Maps, You Should Be Using Saved Places

Even if you’ve never heard of Google Maps Saved Places before, you can probably guess what it is.

It’s a way to save and manage lists of locations on Google Maps, view them right on the app, and share them with others.


Too simple?

Maybe, because barely anyone uses Saved Places to its full potential. But they should. Anyone who uses Google Maps should use Saved Places. Heavily.

This guide will get you started:

Why Use Google Maps Saved Places

There’s Too Much to Remember

Not even the guy who memorized pi to the 70-thousandth decimal place can keep track of all the places to see, restaurants to eat at, addresses to go to, and the perfect selfie spot recommendations we’re bombarded with daily.

But our phones can with just a couple of clicks.

You Probably Use Google Maps Already

Unless you’re one of those people who’s paranoid Google’s spying on you, you’re probably using Google Maps as your go-to navigation app already.

And you should be. It’s the most comprehensive and accurate map app out there (…unless you’re hiking. In that case, use Maps.Me).

So the Saved Places functionality makes what you’re already using even more useful.

You Can Access Saved Places on Any Device

Changes you make on Saved Places automatically and instantaneously synchronize across any phone, tablet, or computer that’s logged into to your Google account.

It Even Works Offline

Saved places are visible on Google Maps even when you’re offline or in airplane mode. Offline info includes the opening hours, phone number, exact address, and average review score.

Just make sure to save your Google Map for offline use.

And make sure to charge your phone or bring a charger or battery back, before heading out.

Driver looking at a map with tourists
We’ve replaced physical tourist maps like these with Google Maps’ saved places.

It Replaces Tourist Maps

In the good old days (i.e. only a few years ago), my first stop anywhere I traveled was the tourist information office.

There, I’d talk to an employee who’d circle, star, and scrawl all sorts of recommendations on a free paper map. I’d then circle more spots I’d read about in guidebooks and whatnot.

These were my trip treasure maps.

But I don’t use them anymore. Google Maps’ Saved Places has replaced them as a more durable, detailed, and accurate digital alternative.

Kim and Chris cheersing at a wine farm in Plettenberg Bay.
Kim: “Yet another great date, Chris! How do you come up with these things?”

It Makes Deciding Where to Go Easier

When it’s time to plan my monthly “date night” with Kim, I simply pull up my “Want to Go” Saved Places lists.

Those lists are where I save all potential date night spots—restaurants, bars, activities—that people recommend to me or that I read about.

I pick a couple that are close to each other and just like that date night’s planned.

Cover image of Taipei 24 hour layover post. Kim eating on street.
Kim digging into food number 13 out of 24 that we ate in Taipei thanks to expert Saved Places strategy.

It’s Great for Planning Travel Itineraries

When Kim and I had a 24-hour layover in Taipei, we collected restaurant, food, and attraction tips from everywhere and dumped them all onto Saved Places.

This is what we ended up with:

Saved Places scattered the pieces to our Taipei puzzle onto a map then we made a masterful itinerary to get to as many of them as possible in our 24-hour layover there.

Like pieces of a puzzle, we put together a route that would allow us to get to as many of them as possible in one day.

The result?

We went to A LOT of places in Taipei, eating 24 different foods in 24 hours.

How to Get Started With Saved Places

Baby beginner using Google Maps saved places.
If our nephew can use Saved Places, so can you.

Follow these screenshots and their captions to learn the basics of how to create a Google Maps Saved Places list, save locations to those lists, and share them with friends.

If something’s unclear, check Google’s official instructions or ask me in the comments.

How to Create a List

Screenshot of how to create a list on Google Maps
1. Tap “☰”
How to create a list on Google Maps screenshot
5. Add list name.
6. List description (optional).
7. Save.
Screenshot of how to create a list on Google Maps and picking "Your Places"
2. “Your Places”
New list created on Google Maps
Your list is made. Tap “…” to edit it.
Screenshot of how to create a list on Google Maps.
3. “Saved” tab.
4. “+”

How to Save a Location to a List

How to save a location in Google Maps Step 1
1. Find the place to save.
2. Tap “Save.”
How to save a location on Google Maps
5. Success! It’s on the list.
How to save a location using Google Maps Step 3
3. Pick the list you want to save the location to.
Seeing your newly saved location on your Google Maps
And you’ll see the icon on the map.
Screenshot of how to save a location using Google Maps step 4
4. Add a note to remember why you added the location.

What if the Location’s Not on Google Maps?

Tap and hold to drop a pin anywhere. You can then add a label (if you wish), add it to a Saved Places list, and add a note to remind you of why you saved it.

Quick Video Walkthrough:

How to Share a List of Saved Places

Sharing a list using Google Maps step 1
1. Tap “☰”
Sharing a list using Google Maps screenshot
4. “Sharing options”
Sharing a list using Google Maps and clicking on "Your Places"
2. “Your Places”
Screenshot of sharing a list using Google Maps
5. Copy the sharing link
Sharing a list using Google Maps
3. Tap “…” to share.
Screenshot of sharing your copied link of a list to share with your best friend using Google Maps.
6. Share the link with anyone

How to Get the Most out of Saved Places

Charcuterie Sandwich Nazi
I only went to my now favorite middle-of-nowhere sandwich restaurant ever, La Charcuterie, because a few years prior I’d saved it on Google Maps, just in case.

Save Places Indiscriminately

When in doubt, save it.

Whether it be a recommendation from a friend, an interesting location on an Instagram post, a spot you pass by while walking around, or whatever, any time you see, hear, read, (or smell, taste, or feel) a place worth remembering or returning to, save it to a list.

Adding a place to a list doesn’t mean you have to visit or you ever will. It’s a reminder to your future self to keep it in mind.

Because you never know.

Kim in front of a fancy door of an apartment in Valencia
“What was the apartment code again?” If we’d saved it as a note on Saved Places, we wouldn’t have to ask our friends every time we visited them.

Always Add a Note

When you add an item to a list, add a note to remind your future self:

  • Why did you add the item to the list?
  • Who did you get the recommendation from?
  • Is there any feature (like a dish at a restaurant) of that location to remember?

Without a note, your future self will have a map full of locations and no idea why your past self added them.

(Refer to Step 4 of How to Save a Location to a List above for how to add a note.)

Make Lots of Lists

Making lots of lists is the key to avoid getting lost in a constellation of Saved Places on your Google Maps.

Here in Valencia, where Kim and I are living for three months, I’ve created separate lists for dinner restaurants, lunch restaurants, tapa bars, attractions, shared bike parking spots, and outdoor workout areas.

And I made two lists for each category: one list for want to go, e.g. “VLC tapa bars want to go” and one list for where I’ve been, e.g. “VLC tapa bars been,” so I can keep track.

Having lots of lists like this also makes it easier to share with others.

Use a Good Naming Convention

Picking a convention for naming your lists and sticking to it makes it easier to keep track of your ever-expanding list of lists.

For example, I name all my lists the following way:

[city short name] + [category] + [want to go / been]

For example, “Valencia restaurants want to go” or “Vancouver hikes been.”

Saved Places Google Maps screenshot of too many lists at once.
When all my lists are visible, I can’t distinguish restaurants from attractions from bars.

Saved Places Google Maps screenshot with just one list at a time.
Showing just the restaurant list and hiding the other lists makes it easy.

Hide Lists When Not Using Them

Google annoyingly forces us to use the same turquoise symbol for all lists.

Because of this, the best way to easily find locations from a specific list you’re interested in (Valencia lunch restaurants, for example) is to have your Google Maps only show the spots from the list you’re interested in. You need to hide all other lists to do so.

To toggle a list’s visibility on Google Maps, click the “…” beside any of your lists and select “Show on your map” or “Hide on your map.”

The three default lists for Google Saved Places
Google Maps’ default lists look pretty enticing, but be careful with how you use them.

Be Careful With How You Use the Default Lists

Use Google Maps’ three default lists—Favorites, Want to go, and Starred places—carefully.

The advantage of these lists is their symbols are visually distinguishable from the turquoise circles of every other list.

The disadvantages are they can get quickly out of hand when you use them too much. You can’t share Starred places, either (but you can the other two).

I only use Starred places for temporary reminders (like a place I’m meeting a friend later in the week), Favorites for the best places that I want to remember to recommend on this blog, and Want to go for… nothing anymore because I prefer to Want to go lists for each category.

Frequently Asked Questions About Google Saved Places

Can I collaborate with a friend on a list?

November 2019 Update: Yes!

After step 6 of How to Create a List, select “Group” below the name and description of the list. You can then invite others to join this group and contribute.

Note a significant downside of groups: You cannot add comments below each saved place.

Can I export/import lists of saved places?

Also, no.

If you need to collaborate on maps, try Google My Maps, which I explain in more detail in our Google Maps Tips post.

As I mention in that post, I don’t generally recommend Google My Maps because they aren’t editable on mobile and aren’t viewable offline aside from with some workarounds.

Another question about Google Maps Saved Places?

Ask me in the comments. I can’t guarantee to have the solution you’re hoping for, but I’ll do my best.

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41 thoughts on “How to Unleash the Full Potential of Google Maps Saved Places”

  1. Thanks for this great post! I have just recently learned about the amazing functionality of Saved Places and I use it all the time now in my travels. It is definitely the best way to keep track of everything I read and hear about when visiting a new place. I think I will now need to adopt your strategy of making multiple lists and using a naming convention so I can keep things a little more organized. Thanks for the tips!

    • Thanks to you Amy. From the looks of your blog, you’re going to have a lot of time to play around with and master Saved Places, so if you come up with some tricks or tips we didn’t mention please let us know! Happy travels.

  2. Using all of this already, but cannot find how to plan like a walk/tour connecting the places you saved.
    Would be nice navigating like this, following the walk created based on your spots. Right?

    • Hey Andy. I imagine you already know you can have up to 10 destinations in a route on Google Maps, right? So you mean somehow Google would automatically optimize the fastest route between all the places you want to visit? Yeah that’d be handy from time to time.

  3. I recently added 71 locations to my places but I can only view 30 on the list. I believe they All show up on the map, but why am I being restricted?

      • Hey Heather and Darren. I’m sorry to hear about your issues. Do you have the same problem on both mobile and desktop? My experience is that Google Maps can be glitchy synching between the two.

      • Hello Guys, I have the same problem. I have a list with 300 places that I’ve shared with a friend and she could only see 10…. Did you solve it ? Thanks

        • Hey Christian. I haven’t been able to reproduce the problem. If you don’t mine, maybe share it with me so I can see what’s going on and do whatever I can (likely very little) to help troubleshoot? Share it to theunconventionalroute @

  4. Great article but how do you FIND lists that other people have created (and have chosen to share it publicly)? Is there a way to search for them in Google Maps or is there a function somewhere within Maps where you can browse through lists?


    • As far as I know, there’s no way, but that’d be an interesting functionality. A new type of social media. I wouldn’t be surprised if Google Trips somehow incorporates the maps eventually. Sorry for not having an answer for you Travis, but thanks for sharing the idea.

  5. I’m looking for a way to add a stop to my route and choose the location from my saved places. Currently when you choose to add stop you have to run a general search and there is no way to look at saved places from there. Do you know a way to do this or is it actually possible that no one at Google has thought about needing this option?

    • Unfortunately not, Steve. As far as I know, at least. I agree that’d be a useful function. But until Google finds ways to make more money off of us using Google Maps I doubt they’ll make this and other improvements.

  6. Could have been a really great stuff if the guys at google made a few lines of additional code instead of counting money all day… :/

    Eg. fixing the bug with sharing. Adding possibility to customize the icon. Adding the switch to a more accessible place. And million other stuff.

    • Hey Tamas, if I had so much money to count I’d probably do the same, haha. I’m with you, though. I bet eventually they’ll find a way to monetize Google Maps more and will start making improvements to suck us in, for better and for worse.

  7. okay this is all great but I cannot figure out how to get directions using my saved places, I can’t pick them form the map or really use them in anyway.
    They are just there looking at me but I can’t select them for any directions.

    • Hey Ray, That’s not normal. You should be able to tap any of the blue icons on your map to pull up all the info on that saved place and get directions to it. I haven’t had that problem before, so I’m sorry that I can’t help you there other than suggest you restart your Google Maps or phone.

  8. Saved Places have made my daily life and travel so much better for all the reasons you lay out. Thanks for additional tips!

    However, I used to be able to mark places in the default “Want to go” list as “visited.” But I can’t figure out how I did that in the past and if that is still available. Do you know? Thanks again!

    • Hey Becca, Nice to hear from a fellow Saved Places-er. As a workaround, I use two separate lists for this: Cape Town restaurants WTG and Cape Town restaurants visited, for example. I’m hoping Google will add this functionality at some point. They’re making lots of improvements these days, so there’s hope. Meanwhile, please let me know if you find a better method.

    • Yeah, you’re right. Thanks for pointing that out, Erin. Weird that you can’t share Starred places but you can Favorites and Want to Go. I updated the post to mention this.

  9. it still isnt’t possible to sort a list alphabetically or by date, which is so so so so ridicolous. with more than 200 places in my want to go list this is a dealbreaker, it just ruins all the “fun”. the most basic feature is not there, it’s the worst serviced app by google imo. and you could not export the list like bookmarks and import them in a different account. it is NOT such a great application to be honest.

    • Totally, Phil. There’s so much room for improvement, especially simple things like you mention, that it’s frustrating Google doesn’t step up and do it. On the other hand, the existing functionality (especially when you understand the limitations) is helpful—definitely more helpful than not having any saved location functionality at all.

  10. Do you know if there’s a way to have a list of Saved Places show on the same map as directions. IE I have every winery in NJ plotted in a Saved Places List. When I plug in a destination and get directions, I’d like to see all those wineries to find if any are near my route. To date, I’ve just put 2 maps (directions from NYC to DC and Wineries in NJ List) side by side and did a visual comparison, but it would be great if they were actually on the same map.

  11. How does one add a saved place to an already existing route in google maps? Once the route is created, the list of saves places is no longer available.

  12. So… I’m feeling a bit frustrated with some pretty serious lack of functionality both with My Maps and Saved Places. I recently learned/taught myself how to make My Maps for an upcoming trip to Iceland. I meticulously made layers for each place to go, gave them custom labels, and added notes. I made a custom map for the whole trip, and then started making ones for each day, complete with a directions layer – only to find out that when I load the custom map on my phone, I can’t access that directions layer. What the heck? Why on earth would I not be able to get the directions? So then I looked at your post about Saved Places – I created a list called Iceland Day One and added all the places from the Directions Layer from my custom map… and then there is *STILL* no way to make Google Maps create directions using all the points in the list. Is there ANY way via google maps to make a list of places and then create directions using that list? Or do I have to go into google maps each day and “add stop” for each attraction, which kind of makes me feel like making custom maps and saved locations is a waste of time? Thanks!

    • I’m sorry to hear about your frustrations, Abigail. As you’ve found out the hard way, Google Maps is useless for saving complex directions. For pre-planned itineraries, I’d suggest making them off Google Maps entirely then looking up the directions between each one at a time as you visit them. Saved Places doesn’t help you much for this, as you point out. Where it comes in handy is the step beforehand to visualize and decide on what places to see and in what order. Plus, if someone tells you of a new place when you’re on the road, you can add it and see how close it might be to other places you’ve already planned to visit. Happy travels!

  13. Chris… something has changed in google maps so that when you have made your saved lists, then highlight a new location and hit “save” the only options that come up are starred, favorites, or want to go. It no longer will display my saved lists. (as you have in your screenshot How to Save a Location to a List step 3.) It always used to look like that and I used it for a number of trips, now the saved lists are no longer coming up when I hit the save button, even though I can find them from the main google screen. I have posted to the user forum and have some upticks of others now experiencing the same problem. Ideas?

  14. Hi Chris,
    I just had the same problem as Dave. Happened yesterday. Was fine the day before. Tried switching between accounts, but no luck. Still fine on devices, just not the computer.

  15. In your screenshots I only see your icons and not the default google map icons (for museums, points of interest, etc). How do you turn those off? It’s hard to find the places I’ve saved on the map because I’m also seeing blue markers for other places.

    • Hi Lisa. As far as I know, there’s no way to turn off those other markers. They’re not visible on our screenshots because we’re zoomed out enough so they don’t appear.

  16. I don’t see “Saved” section under “Your Places”.
    I see Lists, Labeled, Reservations, Following, and Maps.

    What is the difference between Lists and Maps? I am curious to see what Google intended for this functionality – seems redundant to me.
    I can’t even update / add places on Maps using the apps. I have to do this on Google map website.
    It’s as if two different groups of Google project teams are working to add similar functions.

    • Yeah, it looks like Google Maps has changed the menu names. We’ll have to update our screenshots. “Saved” is now “Lists.” Thanks for pointing that out.
      The Maps menu is for Google My Maps and the Lists is for saved places. Our Google Maps tricks post has our take on the difference between the two and why we stick to Saved Places mostly.

  17. Hello. I’ve made a list of cities in Italy for a possible trip. Now I can’t see the name of the city on a map unless I tap on it, just the blue pin. Is there a way for the city name to display for saved cities on a map?


Questions? Comments? Complaints?