GPS is a fabulous tool that I have come to rely heavily upon.
Google Maps has quickly become one of my favorite things. It is a handy tool, and one that is tempting to follow blindly. You type in your desired location, it gives you the fastest route. Plain and simple as that. While you can use it in this fashion, I would advise you to glance at the app with a more skeptical eye before hitting the road. Google doesn’t always know best.
On my latest road trip, I was preparing to travel across the state of Washington and up into British Columbia. I brought up Google’s recommended route: all the usual highways. The problem? All the usual highways took me straight through the most traffic-laden piece of the state. I cringed. Driving the I-5 corridor was not my idea of a good time.
Then I saw an alternate route.
Little highway 9 paralleled I-5 nearly all the way to Canada. It was slightly slower due to the lower speed limits, however it carried a fraction of the traffic of its alternative. Unfortunately, Google did not list that as a pre-set alternate route. How could I get it to take me that direction? I paused for a moment, then realized I could enter several of the small towns along the way as stops on my trip. Voila! My off-the-beaten-path route was ready for navigation.
There was only one fault.
Throughout my travels, I realized the one downside to mapping towns as stops on your route. Because entering only a town name is rather vague, Google will route you to the city center of whatever town you choose. Fortunately for me, the towns along my route were all very little and the “city center” was typically right along the highway. Most of the time I simply deleted the town from my route as I entered, causing maps to automatically direct me to the next “stop” on my list. Once, however, I spaced out and before I realized what happened, found myself circling a roundabout three times as my phone enthusiastically proclaimed, “You have arrived!”
Do you have any handy map or travel hacks you wish to share?
Comment below! I would absolutely love to hear about them.