I drive thousands of miles a year in our motorhome, Mostly I could navigate without the aid of map or satnav as very often I’m heading to places on routes I know well. However, I’ll admit that many of those are done without looking at a map, relying entirely on my SatNav (currently a combination of Garmin and Co-Pilot) to get me where I need to be. We have become so reliant upon these devices and we blindly follow them thinking they know best.
However I have a thing for maps, I love them, I can sit and read them like others might read a book, especially the Ordnance Survey series that have so much detail. The more you look the more you see. Whilst I’m not saying you should ditch the SatNav; you really should add some good maps to your van. Motorhomes are ideal for exploring, and exploring with a good map is so much more enjoyable and informative. Here are my three reasons for you to get some maps in your van.
1. Maps give you the big picture
The view of the road that your SatNav gives is not really wider than the verge. The Map can give you so much more information, yes you can use Google Earth which is of course very useful, but the map can give you a lot of information that Google doesn’t. Blindly following a Satnav When you tour you might drive by the most interesting things not knowing they are there, but with a map, you’ll spot them. Maps might show you campsites you didn’t know about, hidden lanes or beaches, perfect overnight spots or maybe just a nice place with a view to have a cup of tea.
2. Maps don’t need a battery.
If your SatNav is like the vast majority, when you remove it from the motorhome for a bit of walking/exploring the battery time is measured in minutes. And even then, the phone or SatNav screen is usually too small for the level of detail you need to best find your way . Maps don’t turn off and die and are always available to show you the direction of your next adventure. If you SatNav freezes just as you reach a junction or 6 exit roundabout (As happened lots with 2 TomTom’s I’ve owned) then without a map you’re snookered. You should always have a map as back up.
3. Maps make it Interesting
With the big picture that maps give, you can learn a lot on a journey, especially when a co pilot is reading as you travel. You’ll spot churches, caves, picnic spots, little hamlets, lunch stops, just of the beaten tracks, woods, rivers, hamlets. All of these become part of the journey and make life far more interesting. Much more so than blindly following that little green triangle on your SatNav where the only highlight of the journey is that John Cleese voice you downloaded, who tells you at the end that “,Even though you have no idea where we’ve been You’ve reached your destination and what a boring drive that was”
Enjoy the new technology, but don’t rely on it entirely, it WILL let you down. Learn to love a map, buy them and study them, learn about the land your travelling through. Once you’ve planned a route with a map you can then program your SatNav to take you on a route that YOU have decided upon. That way you are in charge, you have the best of both worlds and are not blindly following a computerised John Cleese voice.