I took a trip to from Chicago to Los Angeles with my family using Map Quest. Most people have a GPS nowadays, which is supposed to be simpler. However, I find that it can sometimes lead you down the wrong path. I could have used the old trusty map, but the only downfall is you have to choose the route yourself and constantly look at the map and decide where to turn next.
Map Quest is like a solid state GPS. It basically does the same thing, but gives you the information all at once. All I needed to do was enter my exact destination and it highlighted the entire route. It chose the best route for me so I didn’t have to do it myself.
There are options on in the website to click on any point of interest you need such as a gas station, meal station or shopping mall. You can choose what you want to do ahead of time instead of looking for something in the vicinity once you’re there. Before the trip, I planned every major stop for a bathroom or meal break.
I used to own a GPS before and it drove me nuts by making me drive around in circles when it didn’t recognize a new street. It was also very distracting when you’re trying drive, talk to the person beside you, and listen to the annoying repetitive instructions at the same time. A GPS also gives you directions one at a time so you don’t get the full picture of where you’re going. You just have to trust it 100%, which is nerve racking when you’re in a foreign place. I have heard in extreme cases, some people followed a GPS into the lake or over a cliff!
We were traveling a long distance so most of the roads were major highways with few turns and exits. A GPS constantly repeats the same directions when you’re driving down a long road. This was extremely annoying. My husband and I took turns driving and we would just need to look at the directions once before we continued.
One advantage we had using this system was that I had an iPhone with wireless internet. We basically used it online like an interactive GPS. We did take a wrong turn a couple of times because we got distracted. However, we got right back on track again. I also preplanned the tour on what we were going to do once we got to Los Angeles. This is where the iPhone came in handy because we changed our minds often on what we wanted to do next.
The great thing about a GPS compared to Map Quest or the regular paper map is that it can instantly recalculate a detour. However, since I was traveling with my husband, we could turn down any street and continue again by looking at the map. With the iPhone, it was the same thing as having GPS.
Overall, I found the online service to be extremely useful. I got to choose where and when I needed the help. If I ever take another trip, I would use Map Quest again.