Are you planning a road trip in the near future? If so, the first thing you will need is a good road map. Whether you choose to buy a traditional paper format or go with the free and more modern option of mapping software websites, finding an accurate and easy to use road map is the first step toward having the road trip of your dreams.
The first and most obvious use of a road map is preventing you from getting lost. Even the best directions can be rendered useless by a construction detour, traffic jams, or the normal growth of a city. Having a reliable road map allows you to adjust your trip as needed without wasting time or money driving in circles. This time adds up over the course of even a small trip.
Another use of a road map is in finding food, gas, lodging, and the services you need most while on the road. Many paper maps have small symbols marking these and other landmarks. Several of the popular mapping websites also give information on where you can find everything from a hot meal to a warm bed. A few sites will even make your road trip just a little more affordable by helping you find the lowest priced gas along your chosen route.
Imagine being lost in an unfamiliar area without a road map. All of the street names are unfamiliar to you. You can ask for directions, but you have no way of knowing whether the person you ask is reliable or honest. You may find yourself stranded in an unsafe area, either in a rural area without services or an urban neighborhood that is home to gangs and a high crime rate. In both situations, you face being alone and without even the most basic help, while the people who love you might not realize you are lost or missing for several days.
Consider the same situation, but with a paper or online road map. You look around and figure out your location first. Then, you consult your map, find where you are at that moment, and immediately see how you can get back on track. What could have been a disaster is only a short detour.
Unlike many other tools, a road map is incredibly portable. A paper road map can be folded up into a rectangle small enough to fit almost anywhere. Mobile mapping sites are just as portable, allowing you to get directions from any online computer or even a PDA or cellular phone. Both of these options are convenient enough that there is no reason not to have a road map with you the next time you pull out of your driveway.
Do you have a road map? If so, your trip is already half planned. A good road map will help you plan the trip of your dreams with zero stress and zero learning curve. Fun, functional, and easy to use, a good road map is the accessory no smart traveler will leave home without.