Travel Tip: Use Tangible Maps | Facades and Nuances: Travel Tip: Use Tangible Maps

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Travel Tip: Use Tangible Maps

Do you remember those old map atlases? The ones that pages upon pages of maps of every state that you would place on the hood of your car as you tried to figure out your route? Despite the ease that GPS provides (except when it tells you to drive into the ocean) and apps like Waze (which is a lifesaver) I still like to use maps.

Before you scoff, hear me out (even though this might be due to the fact that I am an old lady in the body of a young one). Using actual tangible maps makes planning and traveling easier. Maps are reliable, will work despite the lack of wifi, don't make you have to zoom in and out on your phone to figure out where you are going, and don't die on you in the middle of nowhere. Plus, they work in all countries unlike some forms of GPS (of course, having updated maps is necessary but once again that is a story for another time).

I like to see where I am going - even when I use GPS (it's how I roll). So when I am planning a trip, I like to see where all the attractions and sites are in relation to each other.  Sites like tripadvisor don't really help in that department. Sure, they mark where the attractions are, but then if the attractions and sites are close to each other it just becomes a jumble. And then you have to zoom in and out to get a better look of street names.  And it's more fun to open your map and loudly announce you are a tourist so locals can help you (except when you are somewhere you don't want to announce that you are an easy target for pickpocketers. In that case, you don't want to use your phone either. Slip into a cafe and check there.).

Usually, I try to get a guidebook (AAA tends to have good ones) or just Google maps of the area for one that has attractions listed. The U.S. National Park Service always has fantastic maps and guides for the parks so I always like to print those out. And of course, you can always pick up maps from your hotel or the airport to supplement all of the maps you already printed out while planning.

Now, if anyone does know of a good app that does help give a nice overview, isn't a pain to use, and operates without wifi - please let me know!

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