Written by: Anne McAlpin

In this day of ‘all things digital’ one item I still travel with is a printed map. Not that I don’t love my smartphone and use online maps – I do – I just don’t want to rely entirely on staying connected to the internet to find my way around.  Instead – I’d rather keep a paper map easily accessible in an outside pocket and when I need a quick answer – my map is right there.

Here are five reasons I still prefer paper maps over digital maps:

1. No need for wi-fi

Technology is great – when it works.  Whether navigating around Rome or hiking in the Swiss Alps, it’s a relief to know with a paper map there’s no worry about connecting to wi-fi.

2. Won’t run out of juice

The last thing I want to worry about is running out of battery power while trying to find my way to the Eiffel Tower. Knowing I have my map at the ready means one less thing to think about.  

Tip: If you do rely on digital maps, keep a mobile bank fully charged with you in case you need extra power on a long day of sightseeing.

3. Make notes

I like to make notes and highlight destinations on maps so I don’t miss anything of special interest – which is much easier to do on a printed map when someone is giving me suggestions or directions.  Tip:  Pack a sharpie to use on waterproof maps.

4. More interactive

For me, printed maps make it easier to plan and connect with traveling companions.  Imagine sitting at an outdoor café with friends planning the day’s route over an unfolded map vs. everyone individually looking at their smartphones.

5. More convenient

I find it’s easier to orient myself with a printed map – I tend to lose my place zooming in-and-out digitally.  In addition – the benefit of not having to take out my smartphone or tablet on a busy street adds to the convenience of a paper map.

PopOut Maps

Looking for a great map for your next adventure?  PopOut Maps are my favorite  – a self-folding map that is small enough to fit in your pocket for easy access.

PopOut Maps have an interesting beginning: Having spotted a need to cure what he called ‘Map Stress Syndrome’ – after watching numerous tourists battling with oversized maps – founder Derek Dacey recalled the invaluable miniature charts he used during his days as a commercial pilot. Aiming to bring this level of usability to the city map market, a small team of designers was recruited to realize what would soon become the PopOut. Today, PopOut produces over 100 titles for major destinations and is loved by travelers the world over.

PopOut Map AAA Member Price: $5.95

PopOut Maps design features include:

  • 2 Pop Out maps with extensive coverage of the greater and central/downtown city areas
  • 2-3 additional cover maps of popular tourist areas as well as a transit map
  • Hotels, restaurants, stores and attractions are all featured on the maps for quick and easy orientation and planning
  • A self-folding map that’s easy to use and small enough to fit in your pocket
  • Laminated covers for extra durability

Upcoming Packing Events

Ready to get traveling? Join us at an upcoming in-person Travel Smart Pack Right Event near you. Find these events & register at AAA.com/Events

OR join us for a virtual eventual on March 8th where I’ll be sharing tips on how to pack efficiently and organize with travel accessories for your next road trip! Register Here