Travel Planning

Maps & Navigation

Planning ahead for travel has always been something many people tend not to do. There are definite pitfalls in this. For example, many electronic navigation systems will initially give you time and distance to a destination “as the crow flies”, meaning in basically a straight line around the globe. It’s only when you ask it for the directions that it will give you more accurate data. But still, that data means no stopping whatsoever, not for rest room breaks, meals, overnights, pottying dogs, none of it. Also, the web sites for some destinations may also tell you GPS navigation isn’t correct in their area, and they’ll subsequently provide more accurate directions within that same note. You absolutely need to look at all of this days in advance, and plan accordingly.

Even though electronic mapping applications have existed almost as long as the GPS constellation has been in place, there are some drivers and their navigators who prefer paper maps. I tend to use a little of each depending on where we’re going and how much information is available either electronically or on paper.

I’ll reiterate what I wrote on the Tech page: If using a mapping applcation, you’ll need a mount for your car so you can use a mapping app to get to where you need to go. Many municipalities don’t allow cell phones to be mounted in the driver’s field of vision at the window levels. We use a rugged one which attaches to one of the driver’s vents. Please note: Do not drive with your phone in your hand, and don’t use it for any other purpose but watching the map while the vehicle is in motion. Always stop prior to touching the phone.

Reasonable distances per day

It’s generally said that driving fourteen hours in one day is about as much as any one person should do. What this translates to in distance at highway speeds is about 800 miles. Every individual is different, so your safe time to drive in one day and its related distance is completely your call. I love to drive, so I generally “hit the wall” at about sixteen hours. But if you’re not used to driving or really don’t enjoy it maybe 500 – 600 miles is your limit in one day. You need to plan accordingly, taking into account how far away the assignment is, the date and time you’re due to check-in to housing, breaks for rest rooms, meals, and pets, looking at target areas for any overnights along the drive, medication needs, and a host of other factors. Don’t overdo it, don’t think or believe you can do more than what’s safe for your own driving habits. Plan reasonably.

page updated 9/22/2018