How to Calculate Travel Distances

How to Calculate Travel Distances
While traveling, considerations such as expense, time and accommodations must be evaluated to allow for proper planning. To determine these factors, travel distances between one location and another are almost always required. Doing this before your trip will make planning significantly easier. There are numerous ways to calculate distance, such as with a GPS, but to plan a route and distance between two locations before you leave, software or online calculators should be used instead.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Map
  • Computer
  • Internet
Step 1
Find the two locations you are traveling to with a map. Be as concise as possible and use city and street locations.
Step 2
Find what route you are going to take using a map. If your route will deviate from the shortest possible route, highlight cities that are along the way to ensure you will get an accurate distance when you input data into the online calculator or software.
Step 3
Choose an online software or calculator, such as or Google Maps. Software by DeLorme and Microsoft will also work. Whatever software you use, make sure that you can select a start and stop location and add waypoints--or additional stops--to the map.
Step 4
Use the directions feature of your software or online program to enter a starting location.
Step 5
Enter your stop location in the appropriate field. This should be the ultimate end of your journey, and not a "pit-stop" location.
Step 6
Calculate this route---you should now see the total distance and time if will take you to reach your destination.
Step 7
Enter in the cities along the route that you want to travel if you find that the route is taking you a different way than you intended to travel. Your overall time and distance will still be calculated, along with the time and distance between each stop.

Tips & Warnings

Before beginning your journey, print off your route and map with directions on it so you can refer to it when needed.
Avoid using outdated software when calculating off-road routes and trail distances because these often show roads and trails that may or may not exist.

Article Written By Justin Chen

Justin Chen is a freelance writer and photographer with 6 years of professional experience in outdoor activities, extreme sports, travel and marketing topics. His professional work experience includes publication with KOMO 4 News Seattle, Fisher Interactive Network, and Demand Studios. He is a current Pre-Med student at Walla Walla University.

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