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Is a map necessary?

Kansas City...
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Is a map necessary?

Basically I'm all about just walking around and discovering things...

that said, my plan was once we are at the hotel, or the day before... getting an idea of some of the basic places we want to see, write down the street names and where to turn (or actually just save it on my phone) and head out.... a lot of places seem to have a few main roads that stand out and we could find our way from them.

My gf and I will be in London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Prague. I put the hotel addresses into both of our phones, so I figure if we do get lost we can pop into a cafe that has free wifi, or even a hotel lobby, and use the GPS to get directions back to our place..

Is this an ok idea?

Kent, United Kingdom
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1. Re: Is a map necessary?

You need a ma[p -A-Z produce a good one

and a tube map (free in tube stations )

or you will get lost !

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: Is a map necessary?

It helps to look at one (perhaps before you go), just to get an idea of the layout and where sights are located. You can ask someone on the street for directions (Londoners don't bite).

Play with google maps, they have everything listed on them.

Btw, McDonalds has free WiFi. Bit cheeky popping into hotel lobbies if you aren't a guest.

I would suggest a compass......pretty handy if you get turned around and unsure which direction you're walking, I use one and I am a Londoner.

Gotland, Sweden
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3. Re: Is a map necessary?

Well, there are tube map screens (don't know if they have any proper name) where you can see all tube lines, stations etc. So if you don't have a map, you will be fine anyway. As long as you know where you are going (tube station) and can follow directions. But there are small free paper maps of the tube at the stations, so it would be good to get one.

You can sometimes get a free map of London as well, where you clearly can see streets and popular attractions. Always good to have one.

Don't know about hotels, but cafes and similar places often want that customers only use the WiFi (same with toilets). So if you want to buy something to eat and drink while you are there, it may be a good idea to use the free WiFi. You may be kicked out if you're only a visitor (not buying anything) and want to use WiFi for a while.

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Is a map necessary?

You absolutely need a map, especially for London. Even locals sometimes carry maps in areas they aren't familiar. An excellent laminated map of the central area is published by Streetwise, see streetwisemaps.com/city-map/london-map.html You can get it from Amazon or from many bookstores. The small price is well worth the investment, especially when you consider how much money you're likely spending on your trip.

As barbexpat notes, you should also pick up a free Tube map at a station.

England, United...
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5. Re: Is a map necessary?

Walking in London can be fun and you discover things you may not have found on a bus or tube (underground). However, things you should bare in mind:

London covers a very wide area.

It is old, dating back to Roman times 2 centuries ago.

Its roads and alleyways have grown over that time - many twist and turn in directions you don't expect. They are not on a neat grid system.

Attractions you may want to visit could be miles apart and require public transport to get you where you want to be.

To make the most of your time it will be best if you do at least some planning.

A guide book will help you pinpoint the attractions you most want to see. You can then wander around those areas and see what crops up.

West London
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6. Re: Is a map necessary?

If you walk past the entrance to Covent Garden underground station, you will see a pile of free magazines called "Covent Garden Monthly". In the middle of it is always a double-page map of central London from the British Museum down to the river and the same distance east to west.

Or you could download it here:

…uk.com/map/London-Covent-Garden.html

(In general, I'd want a map in any British city because it's always very easy to walk down one street and miss something interesting just a short walk away.)

Dallas, Texas
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7. Re: Is a map necessary?

Like Alison78, I really like the Streetwise map.

Ipswich, United...
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8. Re: Is a map necessary?

Most guidebooks will have a map section. I tend to worry when people talk about getting a map because that suggests they haven't got a guidebook, which really is important to get the best out of a city. For me part of the fun of a trip is to get a guidebook and read up before I go. It really helps if you want to hit the ground running. It laso gives useful information about the streets you'll be walking down. A map by itself won't do that.

Edited: 12 September 2011, 20:46
Gotland, Sweden
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9. Re: Is a map necessary?

Wansteader:

Some people may not want to carry a guidebook with them, as the book may be thick and weighty/heavy. I am one of them, so I prefer another kind of map. Usually free maps that you can get from a Tourist Information Centre, or by using Google (and print out the map).

So people may read guidebooks but not using their maps.

Kansas City...
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10. Re: Is a map necessary?

I'd stop and have a drink somewhere if I was using their wifi =)