How to Create Custom Directions for Friends With Google Maps

Nancy Messieh 20-02-2018

Sometimes Google Maps just doesn’t know as much as a local and its suggested directions aren’t always the most convenient. Sometimes Google Maps may even take you down a restricted or unavailable route, which can cause all kinds of issues.


If you have friends coming in from out of town, for example, you can avoid such problems by creating and sending custom directions straight to them.

How to Create Custom Directions in Google Maps

For this, we’ll be using Google My Maps, which is slightly different from the standard Google Maps service as it allows you to create custom maps with directions and pins.

  1. Click the Create a new map button. How to Create Custom Directions for Friends With Google Maps Custom Google Map1
  2. You can change the map name by clicking Untitled Map, and then click the Add Directions button directly underneath the search bar to start adding routes.How to Create Custom Directions for Friends With Google Maps Custom Google Map2 e1518545907730
  3. This will create your first layer on the map. In Field A, enter your starting point and in field B, enter your destination. The directions will come up on the map. If you want to add additional stops, click Add DestinationHow to Create Custom Directions for Friends With Google Maps Custom Google Map3
  4. If you want to change the route, click anywhere on the blue line, and drag it to the alternate route you want to use. You’ll probably want to zoom in for this as it can be a little finicky. You can also add destination points within the route to change the default path that Google chooses for you.
  5. You can continue to add destinations to one master route, or if you want to break up the driving into multiple days, just click the Add Destination button again until you have all your routes in place.
  6.  You can also rearrange destinations in each layer by dragging and dropping them in the list to change the order in which they’ll visit these locations. You
  7. Once your map is done, you can send it to your own phone or share with a friend. Click the share button to share the map as you would anything else in Google Drive. You can either send the link or invite them to access the map.
  8. Taking the map on the go with Android is easy with the Android app and iPhone users can view their Maps in the Google Maps app by tapping the menu button > Your Places > Maps.

In addition to adding directions, you can create layers with recommended destinations: a layer for places to eat, another layer for sightseeing, and so forth. Or you can use the layers to create day trips, which each layer including all the things they should see in one day.

You can add images, change the style of the pin, and customize the map to look just how you want it. Just bear in mind that directions cannot be layers with pins and other interesting information.

Creating custom directions is not the only Google Maps trick you should know about. Learn how to create a collaborative Google map How to Create Shared Collaborative Google Maps Google Maps allows you to create custom maps and share them. Here's how to use Google Maps to collaborate with others. Read More .

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  1. RiverboatSam
    October 28, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    Multiple problems with this:
    Step 7 - send the map to your phone. HOW? I see no way to save the map, nor any way to send it to my I-phone.
    I did finally hit on "Share" and "Invited" myself using e-mail. However, when I opened google maps on my I-phone and then selected "Your Places," and then "Maps" - and finally chose the Name of the Map - it loaded, but it completely ignored my meticulously "dragged" route and substituted it's own default (and dangerous in the Dallas area) route, hence rendering the whole process as pointless as doing it with (same problem as Billibong reported).

  2. Billibong
    August 11, 2019 at 3:00 am

    you forgot a step - once you share the map and open it up under "My places" then how do you actually get Google to follow the map. As soon as I hit "Directions" button it re-routes to Googles own plan.

  3. Nick
    June 17, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    I've created the route in my maps, how do I get Google to actually navigate the route for me in google maps. I can see it overlaid on my maps but I want it to navigate the route for me (I will only be able to listen and not look at the screen), how do I do this?