There is an old folk song that contains one of the quintessential travel lines: “You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.” But if you live outside of the three countries that still utilize the Imperial units of measurement (including the United States, Myanmar and Liberia), then the metric system is the measurement standard that is used, and the song does not make as much sense. That is, unless you know mileage conversion from the Imperial mile to the metric kilometer. You can perform the math yourself, or utilize a mileage conversion calculator or a mileage conversion table that takes the hassle out of metric conversion when you are out traveling abroad.

Distances can be short or long, and thus it pays to be familiar with terms used in the metric system so that you can understand how to perform metric conversion from kilometers to miles. The foundational unit upon which metric lengths are based is the meter, which is a little over the familiar Imperial unit’s yard length. Mileage around the world is based on the kilometer measurement, which equals one thousand meters in length. Because the metric system is based on the number ten, it simplifies the math involved in making a metric conversion.

The basic idea is that a bit more than three-fifths of a mile is the equivalent of one kilometer. This means that a kilometer is equal to 0.62 miles. To do the math for mileage conversion, you divide the miles by 0.62 and the result is the distance converted to kilometers.

This may be more math than you are comfortable with, especially if you are behind the wheel of a vehicle while traveling overseas. It might make more sense to refer to a mileage conversion calculator or mileage conversion table to perform the mileage conversion for you. An online or hand-held mileage conversion calculator does all of the math for you.

All you need to do is input the number of miles the distance is, and the calculator will convert it to kilometers for you. You can also print out a copy of a mileage conversion table to quickly refer to when you are traveling, for another easy way to make the switch to metric mileage.

Now, based on what we know, we can determine that the “hundred miles” in the song would convert to a little under one hundred sixty one kilometers. Whether you do the math yourself or use a calculator or table, mileage conversion is important to understand for ease of travel abroad.