YOU’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY
Map reading. These two words might have you smiling smugly while recalling the day you navigated your way through one of the most populous cities in the world with nothing but a keen sense of direction, foreign language street directory balanced against the steering wheel of a manual rental car.
Other readers might be slowly choking on your granola, anxiety rising, as a mash-up of memories hurls you along European autobahns, into the gridlock of Bangkok, crisscrossing LA’s great freeways, and into the tight laneways of Florence.
You either have the skill of navigating or you haven’t. Or you’re the driver or the passenger. The passenger has the unenviable task of reading the map but anticipating the demands of the person behind the wheel. The driver can’t understand why the map reader is not saying anything – is it because they’re lost? Or why they’re not suddenly fluent in the local language and/or road rules and unable to quickly process where to turn left or which exit to take.
To both parties, I have two words: Google Maps. And two more: global roaming. It’d be nice to think one could go on an overseas holiday and leave the phone behind or just use it when free Wi-Fi was available. But tech detoxing is not all it’s cracked up to be, and I can’t recommend enough adding this to your mobile plan for your next trip.
I have a $10-a-day-plan with my provider which gives me limited Wi-Fi and direct dialling for the duration of my trip. I couldn’t travel without it.
Another advantage of Google Maps: forgoing a massive paper map in favour of your phone makes you appear less like a tourist. And we’re all keen on that.