If you’ve done any travel at all, then you know our trusty GPS/Garmins in our vehicles, are not always the most accurate. Sometimes it doesn’t even give you the best route in town. There are many versions and types of directional guidance systems to aid us to get from point A to point B, and even if you read the manuals or watch YouTube videos on how to best use all the features including; Avoiding Toll Roads to Shortest Route versus the Quickest Route, your guide can still take you different routes than you may like. Even going from A to B, it may direct you a different route back to A. Puzzling.
Maps. You will probably find it very helpfulto carry a printed map, yes, they still make these. There are laminated ones, spiral bound and even folded, laminated maps and you can usually pick up a paper state map at Welcome and Visitor centers in each state.
Even if you enjoy being spontaneous and just pick a destination that day, you may still need a printed, preferably in color, road map to navigate your trip. We have found that GPS’s built in your vehicle don’t have the latest updates as to road closings, detours and closed bridges. And when you’re pulling a trailer or driving an RV, turning around and backtracking can be more than tedious.
Taking time prior to your road trip you may want to look at the “turn route” your guidance system suggests and compare it to a printed map to research plan B and maybe even a plan C. Time permitting while on the road, if you have a good co-pilot traveling with you, your secondary guidance human can quickly look up alternate routes on their smartphone using Maps or Google Maps to search out detours when needed. However, keep in mind sometimes these secondary roads, where you will find these unannounced detours, you may have limited cell and internet service and you may have traffic behind you.
Other important things to keep in mind while on your adventure, be mindful of: the weather and also the day and time of week and season. All these topics could be an issue while enjoying our beautiful country. While you may be living life on the road, other drivers are traipsing back and forth to work, school, etc., so the roads in towns will be more congested. Especially during the summer months, and of course, not really necessary to mention, but also holidays. More families and couples are opting for driving versus air travel.
In summary, spend a few minutes “mapping out your route(s), check the weather and don’t be in a hurry. Enjoy the views and stop to see roadside attractions you may never get a chance to see.