Millennials Dependent on Google Maps?

It’s currently 11:27AM September 16th, 2017 in Barcelona as I’m finishing drinking my coffee at a local coffee shop. Maybe sitting here a little longer so my phone can charge so I can plan my day. I just flew into Barcelona and the past two days I have been in Amsterdam. I have to say during this trip I am not sure if I would have the same confidence and ability to walk around the city and explore If I didn’t have the precious Google Maps.

google maps

What did we use ten years ago when we didn’t have Google Maps, Yelp, or Trip Advisor? How did we even manage traveling and looking up the best places to eat or have drinks? Honestly, I don’t think millennials would have survived. We have so much information at the tip of our fingertips and are now so dependent on this information. Walking around Amsterdam we used Google Maps to check out places to eat,  looked for cafes who particularly had wifi to maybe get some work done and also found our way when we were lost deep into Amsterdam.

I just don’t want to even think about actually holding a map to guide my way through the city. This would take up so much time just to find out where I am currently standing. But with my phone and Google Maps, it tells me the exact location where I am standing.

Also, review and travel sites help to educate us and almost know what to expect. We are able to search these sites and read other reviews from people who have been to potential places that interest us. This is very useful for when deciding to spend my money at a new place. It’s helpful to hear other people experiences whether it was good or bad. This initially can help me make my decision.

google map pointsProbably my favorite feature in Google Maps is being able to save a particular place and label it as a “Favorite”, “Want to go”, or “Starred places”. Doing some research before my trip I labeled some places around Amsterdam and Barcelona with “Want to go”. As I explored each place and found new places that I loved and would want to come back I labeled them as “Favorites”. Other places that I visited I labeled them as “Starred places”. This is a really cool feature to ultimately see all of the places I have visited in Amsterdam or Barcelona and places that I would want to go back to when I visit the city again.


label features


  1. I had a really similar experience to you with technology abroad. My friends and I found basically every activity that we did either over a social media site (Instagram or Facebook), or through a review site (Yelp). It was almost like having our own personal travel agent with us at all times, helping us have the best experiences possible. During my time abroad, I traveled to multiple countries where I didn’t have phone service and found that I felt anxious not knowing exactly where I was, or having immediate access to directions to any given location. It is interesting to see not only how technology has improved our travel experiences, but also how reliant we have become upon it to have these experiences at all.

  2. juliasmacdonald · ·

    Hi, Sheritta! Nice post! I also talked about the role of technology in travel this week on my blog, but my experience was slightly different in that I didn’t have data and couldn’t use Google Maps during my trip. You also taught me some new features I didn’t know about on Google Maps- can’t wait to try them out!

    1. Sheritta Coleburn · ·

      Thank you ! A good thing to know is that you can download certain parts of a map from Google Maps onto your phone so then you can still somewhat get around without using data!

      1. juliasmacdonald · ·

        Wow! That would have been so helpful to have known! Guess I will just have to use it on my next trip…

  3. Millenials are definitely too dependent on Google Maps! Back then if someone needed to pick me up and look for me somewhere, I would tell them the street or intersection that I am on. Nowadays, I drop my pin location and send that instead because from my experience, my friends have become more familiar with that instead of reading street signs.

  4. “What did we use ten years ago when we didn’t have Google Maps, Yelp, or Trip Advisor?”

    This sentence made me think about a conversation I was having a few weeks ago with one of my friends about travel agencies. All these technologies have helped to make our lives some much easier that they have eliminated an entire industry. Instead of calling a travel agent to plan a trip to LA, you go on Priceline and can book your own hotel, airfare, and rental cost without having to pay extra for it (and probably saving some money on the fares in the process). Instead of using the Yellow Pages to find a restaurant, we google it, find a review on Yelp and then use Google Maps to direct us there.

  5. Hilary_Gould · ·

    I can definitely admit to relying heavily on google maps while abroad. A trick I used was searching a place when I had wifi and then when I no longer had data I could still follow the blue dot around. My dad loves maps and can’t believe our generation relies so heavily on these “fake” maps. I must say, it does take some of the fun of stumbling upon a place when traveling or getting lost and exploring out of traveling. It definitely is a sense of security though having a map in your pocket when traveling to new places especially abroad!

  6. I think that we were born with tech. At least the last part of the millenial generation. I did not grow up with a cell phone or went travelling with friends and TripAdvisor or Yelp, I was used old fashioned paper maps of all cities where I went. It is part of our lives and part of what we do daily and how we interact wth tech, like google maps or your preffered app. That for me is a positive but sometimes a negative. Now we ended conversations and recommedations from hotels or family of good local restaurants. But obviously great to see reviews and star ratings to go to the best places.

    1. Exactly what I was thinking! You miss something, I think, even though you gain a lot too.

  7. This is fascinating to me – when I studied abroad, smartphones weren’t prevalent, so I had to learn my way around or ask directions. I went to Chile with the International Consulting Project this spring, and I never even learned the way back to my hotel. In some ways, it’s definitely helping, but do you feel like you’re more removed now?

  8. Millennial nothing, we’re all addicted to Google Maps. I moved to Boston after the advent of GPS, and I still don’t really know my way around without maps (and I use it regularly, because of traffic). Why waste valuable brain time on directions when my phone can do it better than me.

  9. m_thompson19 · ·

    It’s crazy how relevant this is and how one little app could have such an impact. I really liked your take on this subject with using your own personal experience. I also had no idea google maps had some of the features you mentioned – I’m definitely going to use them in the future!

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