Even if travel distances were the first concern of map makers the technologies we have developed so far allow us to calculate distances in miles, air miles, nautical miles and kilometers. The calculation of travel distances both on the highway and in cities remain essential for trip or vacation planning, thus one can appreciate the fuel costs as well as the the need for hotel reservations in case the journey extends on two or more days. The Internet is the most comprehensive resource for travel distances and calculators although the traditional map systems provided by AAA and Rand McNally continue to stay in business. Google and MapQuest are other major players in the online map competition.
Google applications are really great for calculating travel distances, and it seems like they’ve kept their promise to dominate the web with the free services they offer to all searchers. For access to the Google Maps page you need to have a regular free Google account; once you enter the points of origin and destination, the distance measurement tools will give you accurate and highly comprehensive data. Thus, besides the travel distances you can also access other links in the menu that include gas prices, weather forecast and nice sights to visit.
For the calculation of travel distances, Google is so far the most user-friendly program, but MapQuest should not be ignored either. The positive reviews come from to the fast way of accessing the information: type the place of origin, arrival point and press go. The screen will display not only a map and the travel distances, but directions are available too. For the moment, MapQuest is preparing the release of a more comprehensive program that would bring equal chances of popularity with the Google giant; this will most certainly trigger the introduction of other tools and functions to aid the web searcher even further.
The meaning of short and long travel distances has been altered with the existence of alternative transportation means. The travel distances between Los Angeles and New York would thus be long by car or train, but short by plane. In fact, the mobile element in the equation is not distance as such, but the way we feel it in relation with time. People often tend to say: how long does it take to get to location X and not how far is location X? Costs, on the other hand are other ways of considering travel distances: gas, food, lodging, they all have to be covered out of the personal pocket. Hence, make sure to calculate the travel distances well and include them in the overall planning for your trip.