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Thread: Map

  1. #1
    imported_Stefan Guest

    Default Which map should I get?

    I'm gonna do a road trip for the first time. I'm going from LA to DC. I want a good map, not one with just the highways. I also want as many city-maps as possible. Which map do you guys recommend that I should buy? Which one is the best and most complete?

  2. #2


    If you have a laptop I'd get a GPS receiver and Streets and Trips 2005. I used this setup for a recent trip out east and it worked flawlessly. Never even had to touch the paper maps we brought for backup.

  3. #3
    imported_Stefan Guest


    Well that's no fun, is it? I think the map-reading is part of the fun. So the question remains...

  4. #4

    Default Paper or Plastic?

    Stefan, I'm with you. There's nothing like the map in hand. I made my living for a while working with GPS, but when I'm on the road, give me the hardcopy.

    My personal favorite for a multistate road trip is the Rand McNally Atlas. It's fairly detailed, is updated every year, has lots of city maps, and lists for only $10-15 (but they can be found at substantial discounts at places like Sam's Club, WalMart, etc).

    If you know ahead of time which states you'll be traversing, go on-line to each state's official website and poke around, most offer free maps and these are generally better than commercial products, showing lots of backroads, roadside rests, state parks, etc. The downside is that it can takes weeks for delivery.

    The best road maps ever (in my opinion) were put out by a company in Coventry, NJ called General Drafting. The company has, alas, gone out of business, but if you ebay, look for Esso/Exxon/Standard Oil maps from the mid 70's. The back roads haven't changed, and if you can't find the newer interstates, a map isn't going to help you anyway.

    Hope this helps.


  5. Default Find a map store!

    It's hard to say what is the best map. I used to buy the Rand McNally atlases, but these days I prefer a map with more detail and a larger format. For states that I travel in a lot, I buy one of the large format Gazetteers, I forget which brand, but there is one that is typically better than some of the others I've seen (perhaps Benchmark?). Other than that, I use plain old state-issued paper folding maps whenever I can get them, (free from states agencies via the internet or at state "Welcome Centers"). Others I buy either ahead of time at a map store, or when I get there at a gas station. My suggestion is you stop at such a store and check out what's available -- you'll very quickly see what combination of readability and format detail suits you best. Bob

  6. #6
    Transplanted Midwesterner Guest

    Default pure paper

    As someone who greatly prefers having a map in my hands to looking up things on a computer, you really can't go wrong with the standard Rand McNalley atlas. Its probably the best I've found for good maps of both a state and major cities, and at less than $5 at Target/Wal-Mart/Sams its really a great bargain.

    I'm also a huge fan of the "official" state maps you can get from rest areas/tourism depts. They do an even better job of giving you detailed information on highways, and particularly cities, within a state and best of all they are generally free (although some cheap-o states will charge a couple of bucks). The downside of course is that you can only look one state at a time, and are much less convient if you're on a multi-state trip.

    I also agree with Bob about the DeLome Gazetter if you want to get off the major highways. Their very detailed maps give you almost every road (paved or gravel, state highway or rural road), but they are a bit pricey at around $20 each and they really don't give you any information inside cities.

    I've also got some really old maps from my grandparents that are just amazing to look at. There's just something fun about looking at maps of the U.S. that either don't have any interstates or have pieces of interstates are just being built, but not yet completed. But I'm kind of a geek like that.

  7. #7
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Maps Maps Maps

    Being the Geography Nut that I am, I prefer the Rand McNally Road Atlas for State maps. Mainly because its ALL the states, a milage chart, distance/time chart, and they are all bound together! For independant city maps, you can either go with Rand McNally city maps (availble at gas stations as you enter or near each city), or if you are an AAA member, check with your local club office- those are provided as part of your membership.
    I also prefer paper maps because you can highlight routes, view the whole area at once, and decide on everything on the hood of your car without batteries or wires or GPS connections.
    Good luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Deluxe Motor Carriers Atlas

    The Rand McNally Deluxe Motor Carriers Atlas is what can always be found in my roadtrip truck.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by imported_Stefan
    Well that's no fun, is it? I think the map-reading is part of the fun. So the question remains...
    I also used a GPS system with a laptop (DeLorme Street Atlas USA) and I had a lot of fun with it! We were traveling the back roads of Kentucky and a lot of the roads weren't signed. With a map, you have to know where you are for the mpa to be useful. We got off track a couple of times, but the GPS never left any doubt as to where we were so we could easily get back to our route even without any road signs.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Old School

    Call me old fashion, but I don't think you'll ever seeing me with GPS anywhere along road trip. While I see the advantage, most of the time "getting lost" is half the fun of a roadtrip.

    Once I've found my way back to the beaten path, then its fun to go back with a map and figure out just exactly where I was.


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