Google Maps Saved Places cover image of funny guy having a great time on his phone
We just told this guy on the bus about Google Maps Saved Places.

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 those places with others.

Simple.

Too simple?

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

In this guide we’ll explain:

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.

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.

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 disadvantage is they can get quickly out of hand when you use them too much.

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?

No. You can share a list with someone, but that person cannot contribute to that list.

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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7 comments

  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!

    1. 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?

    1. 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?

      1. 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.

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