How to Master a Map for Your Short Break

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How to Master a Map for Your Short Break

The months of planning have finally reached fruition. All of the important tasks for organising the short break have been accomplished, from securing lodging reservations to fine tuning the automobile. Even the family pets have found a comfortable home during the hiatus. However, one important task is invariably neglected by British travellers. They jump into their cars and assume that they have mastered the skill of reading a map, but the lack of knowledge leads to frustrating delays and agitating wrong turns. All of the stress that they want to leave behind follows them inside of a car that has no clear direction. One of the first priorities for organising a road trip involves learning how to master a map.

While mastering a map may require diligence and focus, finding a British road map requires nothing more than walking into a travel shop or petrol station and perusing the varied maps. Travellers who plan ahead can also find great deals on British maps online at eBay. Some eBay sellers bundle maps with other travel accoutrements, such as travel bags and suitcases.. Before travellers go online to find the right map seller, they should first learn some general road map principles, before diving into the nuances of reading road maps and the understanding the 10 most common map symbols.

Road Map Overview

Rapidly advancing technology has changed the way travellers navigate British roads and highways. Automobile GPS devices provide step-by-step instructions on how to get from point A to point B. While the clear instructions alleviate traveller concerns, GPS units do not explain how to master reading the electronic map. Therefore, whether travellers use GPS or an old-fashioned paper map, they need to follow a few steps on how to master a road map.

Determine the Route

It may appear facile, but many British travellers do not determine where they want to go until they hop on their motorbikes or into their automobiles. Determining where to go only comprises the first part of this equation. Travellers must also determine whether to take a direct or indirect scenic route. The thirst for adventure plays a large role in determining the road route.

The Map

Maps that depict the major British roads and highways provide a general sense of where to go, but travellers need to buy specific regional maps that include blown up images and labels of the cities they plan to pass through or reach as their destinations.


Map indexes provide travellers with a one-stop place to find the cities or towns on their travel itineraries. The indexes allow travellers to plan their route accurately and eliminate unnecessary time spent on the road. Road map indexes arrange alphabetically and next to each town name, travellers can match the numbers or letters with the overlying grid formation.

Plot the Course

After selecting the route, plot the significant historical places and leisure facilities to visit. The map legend provides information on whether the plotted course consists of two or four-lane roads, which allows travellers to also estimate arrival times.

Calculate Kilometres

Only purchase British road maps that include a legend for calculating kilometres between point A and B. Coupled with road quality, calculating kilometres provides travellers with an even more accurate assessment of travel times.

Where to Buy

Many small shops and major big box retailers sell British road maps. The best online sources for road maps include eBay. Buy from either offline or online outlets that present the most recent road map edition. Even a map dated from the year before can be terribly outdated due to new and closed roads and highways.

How to Read British Road Map Symbols

It is one thing to learn the general ways to master a map for a short break. However, mastering a map requires the specialised skill of accurately reading the maps. The first order of business is to locate the map's legend. Every map used should include a small box that displays symbols and descriptions of what the symbols means. Map legends can typically be found on the back or front of paper maps. Atlas maps contain legends on every page. Find the map's scale and learn how many kilometres represent one centimetre. Next, locate the cardinal directions that display on a compass rose or a pair of perpendicular lines. Four points should define north, south, east, and west.

The coloured lines displayed on a British road map possess different meanings. Recognise what each coloured line represents before travelling to the short break destination. While there is not a universal colour code, blue lines usually depict rivers or some other type of waterway. Black lines may represent two-lane roads and red lines may indicate the presence of primary four-lane highways. Thicker lines indicate larger, wider rivers and roads. Maps typically display railways with two long lines and a series of smaller lines crossing the two major lines. Contoured lines depict changes in altitude, which help travellers who suffer from respiratory distress.

Pictorial symbols present the important points of interest, such as an old castle or site of a famous British battle. The symbol legend should provide written descriptions of each symbol. However, some British maps lack the descriptions. Use common reasoning to define undefined symbols, such as a bus represents a bus terminal or a taxi represents a main taxi terminal.. The Cartographic Symbols and Map Symbols Library has a list of the most common symbols and the meaning of each symbol. Online resources also present the most common map symbols. Government capitals and large cities can be found by searching for stars (capitals) and black dots (large cities). The size of the black dots correspond with city size.

British Road Map Symbols

Experienced British travellers have mastered the skill of identifying road map symbols, without needing to pull over and reference the symbols with a name. British road maps vary by the number and types of symbols a road map may possess. The following chart lists the 10 most common symbols, which are the symbols any British traveller needs to master before taking a short break.




Locates facilities for visitors and residents

Can include: toilets, public corded phones,, banks, chemists, law enforcement buildings, churches, and schools


Describes any obstacles to travel

Refers to permanent obstacles, not temporary road detour issues


Defines individual or connected buildings

Important for short break travellers searching for hotels


Businesses that produce customised products

Important for hungry travellers searching for restaurants


Refers to facilities and equipment


Describes roads and footpaths

Allows travellers to determine travel time


Locates Great Britain's archaeological sites, ruins, castles, and ancient buildings


Used to pinpoint leisure facilities and sports stadiums

Especially pertinent for recent immigrants to Great Britain who do not know the location of major sporting venues


All branches of the British military represented

Displays permanent military checkpoints

Public transport

Information that maps railway stations, bus stops, and public transportation services

Important for travellers who take their short breaks in large cities.

While the amenities symbol should be the first symbol mastered for British travel, short break travellers should master a few other symbols to make their sojourns more pleasant. Why incur the stress that derives from asking for directions, when travellers can find historic sites and public transportation hubs by simply reviewing a British map. British mapmakers rarely change the configuration of the 10 most common road map symbols.

Finding the Right Map and Short Break Sellers on eBay

Searching for maps on eBay requires buyers to input specific keywords into the search engine. The best way to find up-to-date maps is to type the year and type of map required to travel to your short break. For instance, typing "British road map 2013" ensures your results only contain sellers who offer 2013 maps. For short breaks, you can search by accommodation, such as "timeshare&" or "caravan&". Short break accommodations represent the most important part of the planning process. Unlike holiday packages, short breaks require travellers to find their own accommodations and make their own reservations. Once you decide on accommodations, you can then search for maps that display the specific region where you plan to stay.

What if your boss just gave you the weekend plus Monday off? You only have a few days to find a short break to take advantage of the generous offer for time away from work. Search for eBay sellers who allow you to buy a short break "now". With overnight mail service and faster electronic mail delivery, you can have your train tickets and hotel reservations in your hand before you retire for the day. Just be sure to vet every eBay seller under consideration by reviewing the customer feedback that eBay compiles on seller product pages. Search for sellers who have earned praise for selling travel-related products and packages.


How to get from point A to point B may be the most important short break question. After all, with little room for time errors, travellers want the most direct and quickest way to reach their relaxing short-term destinations. While GPS systems inform travellers how to get from point A to B, the units do not alert drivers to upcoming points of interest or areas that contain restrooms. Therefore, British travellers need to master the skill of reading road maps if they want to enjoy their short breaks..

Mastering maps for a short break means working with an inverted pyramid of tasks to finish. First, travellers need to follow general map mastering skills, such as understanding where to find map indexes and how to plot the travel course. The next map mastering step involves in-depth research into understanding how to read the myriad map symbols that alert travellers to various points of interest. What comprises the map symbols? Maps vary as to the number and types of symbols placed in their legends. Yet, travellers can master a map for their short breaks by remembering the 10 most common road map symbols.

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