Guest Author - Christine Wilcox
Whether you're a solo travel expert or on your way for your first excursion, there is one thing that all of us travelers have in common - we can all use a dose of fresh air, invigorating scenery, and exercise.
When I'm on the road, I have a tendency to get into a rut. Airport, plane, office, meeting, rental car, hotel, order takeout, go to sleep, and then do it all over again the next day. Do I have plenty of time for exercise? Usually. Do I ignore that fact? Generally. Do I have any excuses now? No. Because I've found MapMyWalk.com.
While watching "The Sound of Music" for the hundredth time tonight, I looked at my sleeping dogs and decided it was time to ditch the TV and go for a walk. But I'm the curious type who likes to know how far I've gone - so I Googled "walking maps" and found MapMyWalk.com. This site was full of useful information, and easy-to-use pages to build my perfect 1.5 mile walk right from my house. Simple click, drag, click created a route down the streets around me, and back to my house. It couldn't have been easier - and as an added bonus, the basic account is FREE!
Why I like it: MapMyWalk.com is super simple to use, registration is quick, and I can track my walking workouts by logging them. It can also sync with my Nike+ Workouts (which I store via my iPod Nano and my Nike+ shoes) so it tracks every step I take with those, as well. When I set my location, it also searched for walks in other areas of my city - which led me to the brainstorm epiphany of "Hey, I could use this on the road! Brilliant!"
It searches by address or city/state, so you can plunk in the address of your hotel and map a walk out. You can also switch between map view and satellite view, so you can see the terrain you're headed into - a bonus when you're traveling solo and don't know if you're in a neighborhood, a strip mall, or an industrial district.
Always be smart about your walks and practice smart solo walker safety - don't wear headphones in both ears (which can make you an easy target), and carry mace if you feel uncomfortable going at it alone. Take your cell phone, and tell someone where you're going - even if it's just a quick text message or telling the hotel clerk as you leave.
The other thing I love about MapMyWalk.com is it helps you reduce your own carbon footprint as you travel by skipping the treadmill in the hotel workout room - no wasted energy when you use your own pedestrian power!
On your next solo excursion, if you want to do a little on-foot exploration, map your route and go.