The easiest way to calculate the distance and time of a trip is to simply plug the beginning and end location into a map direction website such as Mapquest. If you are in the middle of your trip and run into a detour, however, or you find yourself planning a trip in a remote region, you may have to do without computers when you make your travel calculations.

Lay out your map and write down your route.

Note the scale of the map. In one corner, it should say something like "1 inch = 25 miles."

Lay a string along the first road you are going to take. Try to make it curve so that it follows every twist and turn of the road.

Pinch the string at the beginning and end and lay it against the ruler to measure the total length of the road. Then, multiply that length by the scale. For example, if the string is 12 inches long and the scale is 1 inch/25 miles, you would get 12 X 25 = 300 miles. Write down the name of the road and its distance.

Calculate the lengths of all the roads you are going to take, then add them together. This will give you your total travel distance.

Estimate how fast you will go on your trip. Then, divide your total distance by your speed. This will give you an estimation of your travel time. For example, if your trip is 240 miles and you are going to be drive 40 miles an hour, your time will be 240/40 = 6 hours.

Add extra time for stops and layovers. A stop for gas will take 10 to 20 minutes with the time it takes to get off the road, wait for service and pay. A stop for a sit-down meal might take about an hour if you don't have to look for the restaurant. Add this time to your travel time to get your total time.

Things You Will Need
  • Map

  • String

  • Ruler