Boston. It’s a city that I haven’t spent much time in, but every time I leave I can’t wait to go back. From its food, to its historical landmarks, to its baseball team, there’s so much passion in everything Boston and its people have to offer. This year’s trip was in honor of my boyfriend’s (also known as Cody) birthday. It was a few month’s past his ACTUAL birthday, but we had to plan the trip around his beloved Red Sox’s schedule so he could catch his first game at Fenway. The trip. Was. Fantastic. Filled with lobster rolls, beer tours, giant cookie ice cream sandwiches, a Freedom Trail adventure, and a Red Sox win it couldn’t have turned out any better. We even squeezed in a stop in Andover to visit big old friends (some former Stanford teammates) and little new ones (their kiddos!). And it was all topped off with a car ride to New Hampshire for my favorite treat.
Google Custom Maps
For those of you that were reading Tech in Real Life circa 2012, you may remember a post on Google Custom Maps that Rebecca wrote after our trip to Amsterdam. Well, Google still offers the option to create these maps, although I have a feeling very few people actually know about them and use them. They aren’t necessary for everyday life, but for trip planning they’re amazing. Especially since you’re likely going to end up using Google Maps to navigate whatever place you’re visiting anyway. Google Maps has come a long way since 2012, and the Custom Maps feature is no exception. Google has cleaned up the interface and made it less clunky to create a map and add locations to it. Unfortunately, the one big thing Google HASN’T done is make the feature easier to find, but I’ll help you out below.
Since we had a ton of things on our Boston “must-see/do/eat” list, I figured this was the best way to keep our days organized and be able to quickly access directions to said places as we made (read: ate) our way through the city. I created the map on Google Maps on my laptop, but after that only accessed it on my iPhone. Follow the steps outlined below and you’ll be on your way to Custom Map creation fun in no time!
To make your own Google Custom Map:
- Open Google Maps and click the menu button in the top left-hand corner (looks like an unappealing hamburger).
- Click Your Places > Maps > Create Map.
- Name your map and enter a description (good move if you plan on creating multiple maps over time).
- Add markers for your desired locations. You can label the markers, add descriptions, change the color or shape, or even add an image.
- You can add walking, biking, or driving paths between two destinations.
- You can also add additional layers by clicking on the Add Layer Button. This is useful if you want to create a very dense map with lots of locations and paths.
Or if you prefer video tutorials, this one is really helpful!
*Custom Maps work great on Mobile too!
Another app that we found extremely useful as we planned our trip was SeatGeek. For those of you that aren’t familiar with SeatGeek, it’s a site/app that is mostly in the business of secondary market ticket sales. All that means is that it offers tickets that people bought from an official box office, and are now trying to re-sell. SeatGeek aggregates tickets from other ticket resale sites (so not all tickets are sold directly by SeatGeek). The only issue I see here is you may get pinballed around to various customer service folks if you’re trying to get a question answered. Why not use TicketMaster, StubHub, or any of the other ticket sites out there, you ask? Well, what makes SeatGeek stand out (IMO) is its “Deal Score” feature. Each ticket offer is color coded from green to red. The higher the Deal Score (green = highest), the greater the bang for your buck. SeatGeek says they base the Deal Score on seat location, price, and historical data. Sounds like a good formula to me. This is where we got our Red Sox tickets, and we were really happy with the buying process, the price, and the seats. We honestly weren’t too picky on the location, but our biggest concern was avoiding “obstructed view” seats that would have stuck us staring into a post for four hours. Luckily SeatGeek does a good job of giving you a “view from your seats” look before you purchase the tickets. It was the first time I had used the SeatGeek app and I definitely plan to use it again in the future.
*View from our seats: The American flag coming down over the Dominican Republic flag after the David Ortiz ceremony!
Thanks for the memories, Boston…we’ll see you again soon! Keep scrolling for some photos of our trip (including why we had to go on a diet when we got home!).