Times certainly have changed in the world of travel. Long gone are the days of having to fiddle with a giant paper map to figure out where you are.

And it wasn't just trying to figure out your route. Estimating mileage and trip time was also part of it. Can you imagine the horror?

Not to mention having to update your map every year or two to account for new construction or roads no longer open. And that's how it was for a very long time.

Eventually, the World Wide Web arrived in the 1990s and we were able to print our own maps from home. Or, if not the map, at least the directions we needed.

Map / directions / travel / road signs

For some of us, those days feel like yesterday. But for younger drivers, figuring out where to go using this method might seem absurd.

It just goes to show how much GPS navigation has changed our way of travel. In some ways it's good. However, there are also downsides to it. A prime example of this can be found at the Jersey Shore.

In particular, summer, when the crowds all flock to the coast for that weekend escape. The GPS might continuously reroute those visiting to help keep their trip as short as possible.

The problem? GPS is actually helping back up the more local roads as a result. In the process, it's also teaching those visiting the shortcuts and back roads that locals like to keep to themselves.

Map from point A to point B - travel destinations - map pin

Yes, maybe the GPS will help distribute the traffic flow, but at the cost of local roads getting worse. Sometimes, it might be better just to stick with the highways and tough it out like the rest of the drivers are.

One other potential issue is how religiously some drivers follow their GPS. Aside from the back roads, some drivers seem like they don't even bother focusing on the road or reading road signs anymore.

If the GPS says to change lanes, they just do it. Between that, and it telling us where to go without us needing to think. It really does show how old-school kinda went out the window.

GPS traffic / No, do not travel

With that said, does that mean the travel is necessarily worse? Well, it really depends on how you look at it. One positive with the GPS is that it does tend to have updated maps.

And if you use Google Maps, it really gives a visual of how much things can change in a short period of time. Here are just a few examples of New Jersey towns where today's technology really captured change in only a few short years.

23 Google Maps Pictures Show How Quickly Washington Township, NJ, Has Changed

Farm land has turned into planned communities, existing stores were demolished to build new ones, and restaurants have come and gone... here's a look at how quickly things have changed in Washington Township, NJ.

29 Google Maps Pictures That Show Just How Quickly Somers Point Has Changed

Hop in your car, take a spin around the Somers Point Circle, grab a bite to eat at Mac's, and then sit in traffic on the old Route 52 bridges -- here's how quickly things have changed in Somers Point over the years.

28 Google Maps Pictures That Show Just How Quickly EHT Has Changed

Empty lots are now stores in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. Existing stores were demolished to build new ones. Roads were changed for the better -- and they put red lights around that traffic circle at the airport.

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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