Road Trip Directions - The Nitty Gritty of Your Journey

Wherever you're heading on your drive, you'll need clear road trip directions. That's not to say you can't take detours along the way or change your route. But do bring along directions as your Plan A.

Here are some thoughts on how to approach the task:

  • Use a clean sheet of paper. Sounds obvious, but too many people reach for the nearest torn scrap or back of an envelope, and they end up scribbling directions that will be impossible to decipher later on.

  • Type everything out. No matter how neat your handwriting may be, type will be easier to read in the car.

  • Better yet, use an online driving directions program. There are tons of good, free services out there. They'll give you clear, consistently formatted directions for your entire trip.

  • Review the directions carefully before you set out. It can take a little while to get used to how a particular program explains things. And the program may have sent you on a highway you didn't expect - or a road may have changed its name since last time you drove it.

  • Generate separate directions for side trips. In other words, if you plan to end your second day of driving by arriving at your hotel in Anytown, but then you plan to go out that evening and see an attraction 10 miles away, generate directions from your hotel to the attraction and back. Keep these side trips in a separate section of your trip folder or binder.

We've used most of the online programs as well as good old-fashioned maps. When we planned our 4,393-mile road trip, we printed out pages from MapQuest, but we supplemented those with some notes from an atlas and also brought along some maps from AAA.

You might want to try the MapQuest Road Trip Planner yourself, following our simple instructions.

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Road Trip Directions