Monday, February 18, 2013

Google Maps Street View

As much as I love a good street map, Google Maps Street View (GMSV) is an essential planning tool for me.  Whenever we have plans to visit a new city, I will find the hotel on Google Maps and then go into Street View to take a walk around the block.  This helps me see what's in the immediate area and get a head start on getting my bearings so that once we've arrived, I'll have some familiar landmarks to keep us going in the direction we intend.

GMSV lets us find restaurants, shops, markets, and other places we might want to check out that are within walking distance, and it also lets us know ahead of time if the area seems suitable for walking. Are there sidewalks? Crosswalks? One-way traffic?

Not only do I like GMSV for seeing what's near our hotel, I like to use it when we will be in a port that reportedly has easy access to the city.  I like to see what's within walking distance, or if there is a shuttle, where does it drop off and pick up and what landmarks will I want to remember.  We went on an Alaskan cruise in 2011, and two of the ports were such that we planned to have some free time exploring on our own - in Skagway and in Ketchikan. We were able to walk the streets ahead of time to get an idea of what was there and how far things were (or in these two cases, weren't).  Plus it's fun to get a sneak-peek of what the towns look like. Skagway was right out of a movie set.

For our trip this summer, I'm using GMSV particularly for the ports where we will explore on our own, beginning with our days in Barcelona.  While we plan to use a hop-on, hop-off (aka HOHO) bus for a day of sightseeing, we know we'll have some time to explore the city near the hotel. Plus we'll want to find where to get some food, so we can plot out the recommendations from others for restaurants, tapas bars, or the fresh food market and see what we might see.

1 comment:

  1. I love street view too. Looking for landmarks nearby would make it harder to get lost but then I would miss out on those inadvertent discovered gems I stumble upon. You ARE an amazing planner.
    Taking notes.