Traveling can be a pleasant experience. It's even more pleasant if you know where you are going. The best reference tool when on a road trip is, of course, a road map. There are different ways of getting hold of a road map, and the best ways are even free. Here are some suggestions on where and how you can possibly find free road maps.
- Ask friends for used maps. The first thing you can try is to ask friends and relatives who may have already traveled to the place you want to visit. More often than not, they have probably stowed away a used road map somewhere in the glove compartment or trunk. While old maps may not be as accurate as new ones, these would still do, if all you need are general directions to a certain city, state or county.
- Go online. There are now a handful of free mapping services that also include satellite imagery of practically the entire planet. Popular services include Google Maps and Google Earth, and with these you can print out a map to use while on the road. If you aren't able to print out a map, you can try accessing Google Maps right from your mobile phone. Just open your browser and navigate to m.google.com for Google's mobile services.
- Visit a travel agency. Travel agencies might be willing to give you a free road map as an incentive for acquiring their services. For instance, if you're booking a trip to a different country, they might throw in several complimentary resources, like road maps, translation guides, and brochures of scenic spots and resorts.
- Use GPS. Some modern cars have a GPS system pre-installed. While this is not exactly free, because it's an add-on, the actual GPS data might already be provided as a free service, and this includes the mapping system. In fact, if you have a handheld GPS receiver, chances are you can already use it to display maps onscreen, and you can even plot your route accurately to a few feet.
- Try airport information booths. If you're traveling abroad, you might be able to get free road maps from the airport information booth, or from local immigration authorities. This is especially true for airports situated in popular tourist spots.
- Ask your hotel concierge. Hotel concierge staff are among the most helpful of all service personnel. If you need a road map, they can produce one for you, usually at no extra cost. Consider this part of being pampered as a hotel guest.
- Go to embassies. If you plan on going abroad, you can check with that country's embassy in your own country or city. If the destination is popular for its tourist spots, chances are the embassy staff can give you free road maps that feature establishments, places of interest and the like, to help you go around in their country.
If all else fails, you can try visiting a local bookstore or a convenience store at the refueling station. These might carry inexpensive road maps that can help you along your trip.