In this age of repeated technological advances it is in our best interest to embrace new tools to make our lives easier when they become available. I have always been a confirmed atlas traveler. While my husband is most comfortable when driving when we are on road trips, I am most comfortable with a road atlas in my hands navigating us skillfully (most of the time) through hill and dale, through cities and countryside.

Maps app informed us when we needed to exit I80 and take I235 near Des Moines, IA

Maps app informed us when we needed to exit I80 and take I235 near Des Moines, IA

In the past month, we have undertaken an extensive three-week road trip in order to spend the holidays with family back in Wisconsin and Iowa. I loaded my travel tools in the Dodge Durango, my trusty atlas within easy reach on the dashboard in front of me. Sunrise on the first day of our trip, however, found me playing with my iPhone 5c, exploring new options and applications (aka apps). While I had used the MAPS application to find a particular department store in a new city, I had never used it for cross-country travel.

Maps application for iPhoneOur first stop was our son’s apartment in Des Moines, IA. I knew Des Moines reasonably well all three of our children have attended college there so we have been visiting the city in excess of ten years. However, while I had my son’s address (to send him care packages and such) I had never visited this particular apartment. In my explorations, I found I was able to type in his exact address in Des Moines and not only would the app lead us directly to his door, it would also keep me continually posted about our estimated arrival time based on the current traffic conditions. I was impressed!

Further, as we got closer to the city, I noted that exits were clearly marked on the MAPS app, as well as which side of the road each exit would be on. As we were led to his apartment, each cross street we would pass was clearly indicated so we always knew where we were in relation to our destination. I was astounded. Maps Application ScreenshotMy atlas remained untouched on the dashboard for most of the trip.

The one time I did refer to it was to double-check an exit we were being advised to take. On one occasion, the app advised us to take an exit (191B) that was to take us to a particular state highway. iPhone Maps applicationWhen reading the road signs, however, we noted that it was exit 192A in this case that would lead us to the proper state road. A quick look at the atlas confirmed our choice to disregard the app’s directions. She quickly re-routed her directions and we were back on track.

Thus, my trusty atlas did come in handy but it was not my constant companion as it had been on previous trips. I believe it is a good thing to allow ourselves to be flexible enough to incorporate new technological advances. Perhaps many of you have been quicker than I to adopt this new way of travel but for those of you who have not yet venture in that direction, I cannot urge you strongly enough to take the chance. You will not be disappointed. I would also love to hear about your experiences. Happy travels!

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