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Finding Your Way Around Your New Town

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Getting to know everything about your new town can be a fun and exciting prospect. Perhaps you'll spend your time meeting neighbors, trying new restaurants, exploring a museum, or interacting with whatever else your town has to offer. However, before you enjoy any of these things, you have to find your way there. There are many great methods for route finding. Here are a few that you can try:

Online resources

One of the best tools for finding your way around is the Internet. There are many different websites that have been designed specifically to help you figure out how to get somewhere you want to go. They usually feature maps, turn-by-turn directions, and functions for finding alternative routes. Here is a list of some popular online tools:

  • Google Maps – This app that's easily downloaded right onto your smartphone allows you to enter a start and end address and get step-by-step driving directions and maps. It also offers images of intersections and streets to help you get your bearings. You can also choose from directions for driving, using public transit, or walking.
  • City-Go-Round – This website doesn't offer driving directions, but it allows you to locate other useful websites and applications. Just type in your zip code or city name to find tools that apply specifically to your area.
  • Some other popular sites are MSN Maps and Yahoo! Maps.

These aren't even close to being all the websites available to you. There are countless others that you can find just by performing an online search. You may also be able to find some useful applications for your cell phone.

GPS

If you car doesn't already have an installed navigation system, a GPS unit can be purchased and placed right in your car. A GPS usually shows you maps via a small display. These devices use satellites to plot courses from your current location to the destination you enter, usually by way of a touch screen. The road you're on and your next turn will be shown on the display, usually accompanied by turn-by-turn audio instructions.

Maps

Sometimes a good-old-fashioned map is the best method for finding your way around. City maps usually come with a listing of local businesses, so all the resources you need are right there in one place. Just find your address and destination, and plot your own route there. This is often the best way to find scenic routes. For example, if there's a nice river that runs through your town, plot a course that takes you alongside that river.

Looking at maps will also help your overall orientation with a town. Even if you print out directions from the Internet, you could get lost. If you've studied your city map, you'll be more likely to recognize street names and intersections. This will be a huge help in finding your way again.

Word of mouth

Finally, you can always ask friends, neighbors, coworkers, or other trusted sources for directions. Word-of-mouth directions allow you to benefit from the personal experiences of others. For instance, someone who has traveled a particular route many times is likely to know traffic patterns as well as good places to stop along the way. This is also the best method for finding out about landmarks by which to navigate. Sometimes street signs are hard to see, so finding out about landmarks can help you recognize turns more easily.

Any of these methods, in any combination, should help you get where you're going. Once you start traveling around your town, it probably won't take long before you know your way and can put aside these route-planning tools.

Sean McClain  Posted by Sean McClain on August 27, 2009

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