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Thread: Road Trip GPS

  1. #1

    Default Road Trip GPS

    Hi everyone!

    Long time reader, first time poster, expect to see more of me around though, as we are 2 months away from our epic road trip! :)

    Anyhoo, back on topic. On the weekend I managed to render my obscure HP ipaq 310 GPS useless by trying to update it with their final patch software.. Boo..

    Now I want to know if anybody has any suggestions for particularly road trip-friendly GPS units. I don't know exactly what I'm looking for to make one GPS more or less road trip-friendly than another, but I imagine easy via points, good POIs could make quite a difference.

    One complaint I had with my old GPS is that the POIs were impossible to navigate, and finding a local gas station was very difficult.

    Thank you in advance, I look forward to your responses to this, plus my other upcoming questions!

    Tom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'll be honest, I don't really know what makes a GPS more roadtrip friendly either.

    I suspect there isn't a one sized fits all answer either, as it really depends upon your budget and what sorts of features you want. I'd say as long as you are getting a Garmin or a TomTom you really should be fine.

    And of course, remember, a GPS is a great secondary tool but it can never replace having, and knowing how to use, good paper maps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    I agree with Michael, create your routes and find your way with paper maps and use your GPS as a secondary tool to help find your destination address etc and adding 'Waypoints' from your paper maps. If you simply use an 'A to B' address it will take you by the quickest route which could possibly add 75 miles to save 4 mins via Interstate and make you miss some amazing scenic 'driving' roads.

    I couldn't find fault in the TomTom I used for the very first time on my last trip, but have nothing to compare it with.

  4. #4

    Default

    Hmm.. thanks for replies.. sounds like good advice..

    I hope mainly to have the gps to help find gas stations, and addresses in towns I guess.. I certainly don't want to rely on it for the bulk of my routing.

    I have to admit I'm a bit overwhelmed by that though.. We have a pretty good idea of where we want to go and now have to start the more painstaking process of getting it off our big wall map into useable lines and notes on our road atlas.. yargh..

    in my imagination I can plan a lot of the route on google maps, gas buddy, etc, and then export a lot of it to my GPS.. has anyone done that before?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Well, pretty much all GPS units will have POI's like Gas Stations, Restaurants, and the like preprogrammed in.

    Most should also allow you to import waypoints - I know my Garmin will allow that - although setting up the waypoints can be a little more tricky. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be able to set up a route on googlemaps for example and just send it to the GPS, because it is going to have its own way of calculating a route that will be different than google.

    I'd also say it sounds like you might be overthinking the planning a bit. Honestly, the idea of trying to plug everything into a computer before a trip doesn't sound like any fun to me at all. Certainly, I'll have ideas of where I want to go, and I'll plug a specific destination into the GPS, but there's a whole lot to be said about having an idea of where you want to go, rather than just a specific list of routes and places.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default AAA State maps

    Quote Originally Posted by globalpassenger View Post
    I have to admit I'm a bit overwhelmed by that though.. We have a pretty good idea of where we want to go and now have to start the more painstaking process of getting it off our big wall map into useable lines and notes on our road atlas.. yargh..
    If you are a member of AAA, go get the maps of each State, and transfer it from your wall map, onto them. In general, they are a much better scale with which to work, than what your atlas will be. (And if you are not a member, it will be worth joining before you go on a road trip.)

    I normally use both the individual State maps, and the atlas. The latter is my permanent record of the trip... sorta like a souvenir.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Too much analysis?

    For me, the benefit of a GPS is the ability to view POIs and to find ways around unexpected situations, such as construction, accidents, etc. and still head in the right direction.

    Indeed, if you are planning an "epic" road trip, part of the fun is leaving some of the itinerary open to explore interesting places along the way, instead of sticking completely to a schedule and a list of waypoints. I would think that a start and an endpoint for that particular day would suffice.

  8. #8

    Default

    @lifemagician - I like the idea of a trophy road atlas. We are AAA members, and I started picking up the state maps, but I haven't really looked at them yet.. I'll try planning out the first leg on one and see how it goes.

    To get the thread back on topic, I think I will definitely go with Garmin or TomTom. Having owned a uniquely unsupported GPS in the past, its just not worth it to deviate from the norm.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Between those 2, I prefer Garmin. I'd recommend a model with lifetime map and traffic service. Those start at about 200 bucks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
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    I would agree about the lifetime maps, since each map update costs almost as much as a low end unit itself.

    The traffic feature I've got, but haven't been impressed with. Most of the time, if it says there is traffic ahead, there are no problems, and in cases where I actually get stuck in traffic, it doesn't tell me about the problem until after I'm already stuck in the mess.

    I've got 2 garmins, a car unit and a handheld for hiking. They're both fine, although Garmin's software for adding maps and waypoints is rather clumsy and frustrating. I really don't end up using it for the car model, but if you really wanted to play around with trying to download a lot of stop information it is something to at least think about. However, I haven't spent much time using a Tom Tom, so I can't say if they really provide any better options.

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