This Atlantic article reports on a recent study looking at strategies used for direction-giving. Americans rely more on cardinal directions and street names; Dutch on landmarks and vistas. In general, it’s also women who use landmarks more, men who turn to cardinal directions and measured distances.
I always wanted to do a study in a small town where I used to live, where people were more likely to shop at a grocery store in a small city 12 miles to the north versus a grocery store in another small city 11 miles to the south. One difference is that the northern route was flat, the southern one was very hilly and steep. Perceptions of effort?