I love travelling, and I love hiring a car and driving around the city. The problem is that I hate bill and more importantly, I hate roaming bills. This leaves a problem, how do you drive around a new city without getting lost? The answer, you buy yourself a Satellite Navigator that works across the world, and take it with you. Sadly, not all units work across the world, most are limited to either the USA or Europe, but with a few updates, expansion and some smart buying the first place, you can easily achieve this goal.
Sat Nav Alternatives
If you don’t want to buy a Navigator and want to use your mobile phone, you have a couple of options, firstly you have the free app Waze, and the paid app Co Pilot. CoPilot Premium is a downloadable sat-nav for your phone that is available on both Android and iOS mobile phone platforms. It costs $19 per year for Europe and $28 for maps of the whole world and works very similarly to a normal sat nav.
The key difference is that you need to use your mobile phone to download maps that you can use offline. The maps are okay, nothing special, but they allow you to follow directions and get to your destination. If you don’t want to pay for an app, its possible to use a free app. Waze is the free option of the above paid app. Its totally free given its owned by Google and works in conjunction with other users, allowing everyone in the community to provide data to help everyone use the app.
Because it’s an app, Waze also has a couple of features that works well. Firstly you can send your location to other people allowing them to see where you are at all time. Secondly, because it’s a sat nav app, it comes with full direction to include things like lane junction for when you enter a difficult junction and are unsure which lane to take to get your destination.
The second option to stop getting lost when driving, is to get yourself a dedicated sat nav. The key advantage of a dedicated navigator is that it has been designed specifically to provide directions. If you buy smart, and buy yourself a Garmin or a TomTom sat nav, you can be sure its been designed a and refined over the twenty years and therefore will work.
The directions are easy to follow, approach a difficult junction and lane junction will show you what lane you should be in. Most sat nav units these days comes with features to show speed limits, which in a new country is vital. What I like the most is the points of interest data bases.
Even the most basic models come with points of interest databases that include thousands of restaurants, petrol station, tourist attractions and in some cases parks, to help you with your driving. Garmin have taken this a step further by connection their Sat Nav units to both TripAdvisor which allows you traveller ratings for hotels, restaurants and attractions along your route, and in the US a National Park Directory which helps you to discover America’s most treasured natural resources.
The important point here is that you should not be getting lost when you travel to a new city, whether you travel by foot or by car. The choice of whether to go with an app or a dedicated unit probably comes down to what you’re going to be doing with it. If you’re doing a long distance drive, it’s a great idea to get a dedicated unit. The problem with a app is that it depends on your mobile phone size and your connection to the internet. If you’re driving a long and decide that you want to stay over night at a local hotel, finding one using an app means getting connected to the internet and this can result in roaming charges and major bills. A dedicated unit already has this function covered, allowing you to easily search for hotels or places of interest along your route.