GPS Is Not Foolproof. A Map Still Makes the Most of Summer Travel

(NewsUSA) – It’s the season of sunshine and road trips — and if you want to get the most out of your four-wheeled adventure, you better pack a map to go along with that electronic GPS.

The best reason to keep paper maps in your vehicle, especially on long road trips, is because GPS isn’t always reliable, says Cynthia Ochterbeck, editorial director of Michelin Travel Partner.

Confirming this trend, a 2013 Harris Interactive survey of 2,200 U.S. drivers who use GPS found that 63 percent say that the technology has led them astray at least once by pointing them in the wrong direction or creating complex, confusing and incorrect routes.

So, while it may seem that paper maps have gone the way of Atari’s Pong, they are still just as important as ever — not to mention many other benefits that you don’t get with some GPS devices.

One of the greatest characteristics of paper maps is that you get all of the details, [such as] points of interest, says Ochterbeck. Plus, you don’t risk getting lost when you lose the signal or the battery dies on your cell phone or GPS device.

Another benefit is that, in addition to printed maps providing efficient ways of understanding road networks that surround particular areas, the information is very reliable. Plus, new specialized maps, like Michelin’s Zoom MapsMost people recognize Michelin for its tires, but, unknown to many, it also has a 112-year history of creating maps and travel guides. In fact, it provided the maps that were used by the Allies for the D-Day invasion. Improving on this history, the new Zoom Maps offer seven regional maps for travel in the U.S., with the ability to zoom in on more detail in urban areas. In addition, the new maps have a not-to-be-missed event calendar for regions, in an easy-to-fold system so you don’t have to unfold the entire map.

Technology is great, but a printed map is one of the most important tools a traveler in an unfamiliar setting can have — the battery doesn’t die, it is easy to use, and it allows you to make decisions on route changes if necessary, says Ochterbeck. Even better, there are no roaming or data charges to worry about.

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