There’s no doubt about it: technology has changed the way we travel. I actually know people who have never used a physical map when traveling! It’s hard to believe.
But with the many options available for navigation these days, is there still a need for traditional tool? I’m here to tell you that the ideal traveler toolkit includes both maps and apps!
3 Reasons Why Travel Apps Are Awesome
1. Turn-By-Turn Directions
Especially if you’re traveling solo, turn-by-turn GPS directions can be incredibly helpful. When your phone is focused on the directions, you can focus on the road. Just make sure you review the overall directions ahead of time, so you’re not trying to look at the screen or make any adjustments as you drive.
2. Traffic Alerts
Apps like Waze are crowd-sourced to provide you with the most updated traffic information available. You’ll receive accurate travel times based on current conditions. Plus, it can even warn you about speed traps and red-light cameras.
3. Search Functionality
Apps and smartphones are helpful when traveling because you can look up important information as you go. They make it easy to search for amenities as you go, look up destination information and more.
3 Reasons Why Maps Are Irreplaceable
1. Dead Zones & Dead Batteries
No matter how prepared you are for a road trip, you can’t count on having a reliable network and battery life for your entire journey. My husband and I went on a road trip recently and found that my cell phone didn’t have service for three days straight! Luckily we had our handy road atlas so we could navigate through the painted desert of Arizona and Rocky Mountain passes in Colorado. Don’t forget: using your smartphone on your trip could result in higher data usage and roaming charges.
2. Highlighters & Memories
One of the best things about using an atlas or map is that you can plan ahead and physically highlight your route. That way you can see your whole route easily and you’ll be able to save it forever. Our plan is to highlight every road trip we do in our atlas, so that some day we’ll have a map-book full of memories.
3. Accuracy & Safety
You may think that a printed map could become outdated more quickly than a smartphone application or website. However, that’s not always the case. On a recent trip, my map application didn’t recognize that a road was closed due to a landslide. We had been following the turn-by-turn directions and lost almost an hour of travel time when we had to back track. Later, we checked our atlas and learned that it had been updated with the alternate route! Talk about a surprise.
There are also some concerns about the safety of cell phones in cars. A map may be a good alternative to offer fewer distractions. Hopefully, you’ll have a navigator ready to be in charge of your maps and apps, so you can drive safely!
Our favorite travel map: Rand McNally Midsize Road Atlas
What’s your favorite navigation tool? Tell us about it in the comments below!