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Maps and Guidebooks

Don't go on vacation without purchasing a good quality map.  Maps can be expensive, but we believe that their value far exceeds their cost.  Read our article to understand map value.


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Travel Advice - How much should you pay for a good map?

The short answer is that a good quality map costs  "more than you want to pay."  In this era of free maps on the Internet  it is often hard to convince yourself to buy a map.  However, it is our recommendation that you take a good quality map with you on your travels, even if you will be traveling with a GPS unit. 

Maps are a great backup when everything else fails.  So the question about how much you should pay is really a question about what's that value of the service a good map can provide.

A good map (see How to select a good map) is an invaluable support for the traveler. If it saves you from getting lost just once or helps you to understand basic facts about a country’s geography, it has done its job. In addition, the cost a good map is a minor aspect of the total cost of your vacation.

  • The real issue underlying the cost of maps is “How much is it worth to you to be able to count on a map that is up to date and easy to use?”
  •  Most people are not good at using maps and a well-designed, up-to-date, easy to use map will add to the enjoyment of travel.


On a practical basis, it is impossible to provide a price range for maps that directly equates with quality. Usually price in mapping relates to factors of sales volume and publishing costs.

  • Road maps and road atlases published in the United States are very economically priced.
  • Road maps and road atlases produced by major publishers in Europe are relatively expensive, but these products are kept up-to-date, often come stored within a durable hard paper cover, and are printed on large sheets that allow for better map scale and more map detail (see What does map scale mean and how to use it?).
    • In essence, the increased cost of European maps is a reflection of a longstanding European cultural belief that good maps are valuable.

In a very basic sense, the cost of the map to you is what it is and you must decide whether the map brings good value.  See our article "Get a map that meets your needs" for our suggestions on the types of maps that will meet your needs during several common types of vacations.

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