Google maps has become the standard way of most families to plan out their route, be it searching for a remote hotel, a store you in a busy district or finding that one relative's house that is so far off the beaten track that you wonder what you are doing going to visit them in the first place. Of course, is this is all you desire to get out of a map then google maps is a great place for you to start. However, if you need to get more out of a digital map, and don't want to go out and purchase expensive mapping software, then look no further than Google Earth and Google Earth Pro (which is now free, so might as well grab it instead of plain old Google Earth.)
Google Earth enables you to complete a range of things, outside of exploring a large digital map of the world that is. It comes with your standard satellite imagery, and scope of different layers (roads, places, etc.) but it also allows for you to create your own markers, pins, insert your own imagery and so forth. Any pin you create can be titled in the manner of your choosing and the icon can be altered to be more suiting to the location. Creating one of these pins is as easy as clicking a button (there is literally a button with a pin on it), and then selecting the point on the map where you want to place it. Don't like its positioning? Each marker has a "preference" option where you can change its location by entering precise gps positions (although as a warning, there are times where the LANDSAT imagery is misaligned, so your pin can be slightly out of place). Images, descriptions, and web addresses can also be linked to points, if additional information is required. All of this can then be saved either as an image, or a .kml file which then can be easily shared with other people who may want access to what you have created.
If you wish to use Google Earth even more you can create polygons,(seen in red in the image above) to highlight desire regions, and you can even overlay maps onto the satellite imagery (you can alter these maps a bit, but by no means will it match Google Earth imagery perfectly, due to differences in perspectives etc.). None the less, its minor flaws can easily be overlooked due to the fact that the program is free and it is incredibly user friendly, especially when compared to sophisticated GIS programs. If you want to try it out for yourself, click here, you might as well, its a fun, cool tool, and its free so you have nothing to lose.