From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 15 Apr 03 - Tale of Two Trips


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

A few months ago, I had to drop off my kids at the airport. It's a 90 minute drive, or at least it's SUPPOSED to be a 90 minute drive. Without heaping too much embarrassment on myself, let's just say that I got lost on the way there AND back, and saw a lot more of the northeastern United States than was necessary. This week I'll be making that same trip, and it's going to go a lot smoother, thanks to the Internet. Read on to find out why!


I can't explain why I didn't think of it. It's my job to tell others how to use the Internet to solve everyday problems and simplify life. But when I needed to chart my course from sunny Tillson to Newark International Airport, I got out the old paper atlas. As a result, I crossed more state lines and bridges than I really wanted to.

This time, a bolt of smartness came down from the sky and reminded me that Mapquest and Yahoo Maps both offer online maps with turn-by-turn driving instructions and other bells & whistles that can cut way down on the "Are we there yet?" factor. Here's a summary of both sites and the travel planning services they offer...


MapQuest provides free easy-to-read online maps, driving directions and destination information to online and wireless users. MapQuest maps and driving directions can be viewed online, printed, downloaded to your handheld computer, emailed or faxed, making them easy to take along on the road.

The MapQuest Road Trip Planner also helps travelers find restaurants, ATMs, entertainment and attractions along the route. You can even view aerial photos to get a bird's eye view of surrounding areas. Mapquest offers detailed driving instructions to get you from your doorstep to the endpoint of your journey, most anywhere in the USA, Canada and 12 European countries. And there are road and street-level maps for dozens of other countries.

MapQuest -


Yahoo Maps offers a similar slate of features, including online maps, and point to point driving directions. You can integrate the service into your My Yahoo screen for added convenience. The ability to find points of interest, restaurants and hotels along the way is not integrated, but there is a prominent link to Yahoo City Guides.

Like Mapquest, Yahoo Maps provides interactive maps that allow you to pan and zoom for detail on any portion of the trip. The total distance and approximate travel time are also displayed. You can email the driving instructions, map the return trip, or generate a printer-friendly version of any map. Destinations that you enter are saved so that you don't have to retype them next time you visit.

Yahoo Maps -


What Mapquest does better:

  • Comprehensive "places of interest" selector to help you define
  • your start or end point more easily. Very handy if you don't know the street (or town) where the airport, bus station, amusement park or hotel is located.
  • Includes driving directions for European countries
  • Allows downloading maps to portable devices
  • What Yahoo Maps does better:

  • Driving instructions are friendlier
  • Handy "create a link to this map" option for webmasters
  • Offers text-only driving instructions
  • I've already mapped out the trip for THIS jaunt to the airport, and the printed instructions are on my desk. In a future issue, I'll talk about other websites that will help you plan a trip, save money on travel costs and learn about the attractions before you arrive.

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    That's all for now, I'll see you next time! --Bob Rankin


    The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
    Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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