So you've decided to hit the road, Jack. There's no denying the appeal of the open road: adventure and our great country laid out before you in endless potential. Or, if done wrong, a surrealistic, soul-crushing nightmare. Whether you're embarking on a rite of passage or simply trying to get from point A to B, let these insider's tips be your guide, and fill your journey with miles and miles of smiles.
Pack a paper map.
A recent insurance company study found that men drive more than 300 miles out of their way each year simply because they are lost and unwilling to ask for directions. That fact would be laughable if it weren't so sad. In an age when GPS-based navigation is ubiquitous and affordable, it's just unacceptable – you can own a top-notch handheld device like a Garmin Nuvi for under $200. Or, you can download an app like Waze (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, or Windows), and get precise turn-by-turn directions and more without dropping a dime.
But like any other tech device, GPS has its downsides, and besides the occasional tendency to send unwitting drivers careering into ponds, it's not always easy to get a reliable signal. Which is why we always recommend bringing along an old fashioned map (you know, those colorful line drawings on the folded up paper in your glove compartment) and planning out your route in advance.
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