Driving in Italy? Get a GPS!

Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 10:48 AM
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Driving in Italy? Get a GPS!

My husband and I just returned from a 10 day trip to Italy. I will post my trip report soon but wanted to add this comment on its own. We spent four days in Tuscany/Umbria between our time in Rome and Florence. A friend recommended that we rent a GPS with our rental car. We rented through Auto Europe and it was only 11 extra euro a day. It was one of the best decisions that we made when working out the details for this trip. It made driving in the hill towns so much easier. If you are planning to drive anywhere in Italy, I highly recommend it. We also had a good Michelin map of Tuscany and Umbria to help keep us on track as well.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 11:17 AM
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I think a GPS could be a good idea but I honestly felt that it was pretty easy to get around Italy. We spent a week exploring the hill towns of Umbria, and we purchased a good, detailed map but found that road signs pointing to towns were everywhere so we didn't have any of the problems we thought we would.

I hope you had a great trip, and I look forward to reading your trip report!

Tract
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 11:18 AM
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Sorry...I can't spell today. My name is "Tracy", not "tract"!

Tracy
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 12:47 PM
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Our GPS certainly came in handy in Switzerland last May. I programmed it to avoid "toll" roads as I didn't want to purchase the vignette for a week's travel, and it took us on all the secondary highways & byways. We saw some great scenery, and it took a lot of stress off my wife looking for the next turn. We only used the map for directional waypoints prior to setting out on the next day's journey.

I agree, bmccadas, having driven in Europe with one, I won't leave home without it.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 01:28 PM
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Ahhhh, youse guys what uses GPS are just a buncha woosies.

Real men don't use GPS.

They don't ask directions etiher.

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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 01:51 PM
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Yeah, they just take the bus/train/taxi.
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Old Nov 24th, 2006, 10:23 PM
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We have GPS in our car and have often thought it would be very convenient to have GPS in Europe. So glad you posted this as this could be very helpful to me. We have never had any real problems driving in the country but I have to agree that in the cities it is hard to read street signs as they are on the buildings and not always easy to find. Would this be a big advantage in the cities, i.e. Rome?
Is the GPS that you rented easy to read/follow?
Thank you
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Old Nov 25th, 2006, 03:12 AM
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Real men don't smoke, either.

I agree that once you've traveled with one, particularly in a foreign country, a GPS can seem to be worth its weight in gold.

That recent thread about a Mother and daughter taking their driving trip in the UK kinda cried out for a GPS recommendation IMO.
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Old Nov 25th, 2006, 09:02 AM
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I think it depends on what kind of traveller you are. We recently went to Italy with another couple. My husband & I don't get too bent out of shape if we have to backtrack a bit, but our friend's enjoyment was often proportional to how sure he was of exactly where we were in relation to where we were going. So that comfort level of knowing that we were to turn left in 200 m or whatever was quite stress relieving.

For us the GPS was totally worth it. Programming the GPS took us right to the door of our hotel in Munich and the convent we stayed at in Florence with not one false move. Some people thrive on the challenges of travel, others would prefer just to get to where they are going and enjoy themselves.

I personally would recommend it - it saved so much time of rifling through maps written in another language and certainly avoided alot of bickering.
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 07:51 PM
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We rented the GPS system through Auto Europe (which ended up being Europcar). It was a TomTom system which I have seen advertised in the States since we have been home. I have never used a GPS system before and found it extremely easy to use. We used it to navigate from Siena to Florence our last day with the rental car. It was VERY helpful to use in FLorence and it took us directly to our rental car place with perfect directions.

I second the comments about it saving the hassle of readng through maps. With the GPS system programmed, both my husband and I were able to enjoy the scenery and not constantly looking out for the next turn on the map.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2006, 07:02 AM
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I went to the AutoEurope sit and could not find a place to sign up for a GPS. How did you do that? How much was it?
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Old Dec 2nd, 2006, 07:05 AM
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Am I the only person who enjoys getting a little lost in Europe? After all, it isn't the Gobi desert.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2006, 08:27 PM
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Shirleya53 -
I contacted AutoEurope via phone b/c I found GPS information on their website a little confusing. They were very helpful and helped me located the places in Rome that offered the GPS. It was 11 euros per day. We paid Europcar for it directly when we picked up our car in Rome instead of through AutoEurope.

I hope this helps.
Beth
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Old Dec 3rd, 2006, 09:16 PM
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Beth: If you rented directly through Europcar and not through AutoEurope then how are you insured that there will be a GPS available? Also what about the language? Is it in English?
When I asked AutoEurope about a GPS rental they said they program it and mail it to me prior to my leaving for Europe. Which leads me to believe that it might be difficult to program or possible language difficulties when renting over in Europe?? How did you get AutoEurope to not insist on your getting it from them prior to leaving?
I am really looking forward to hearing of your experience with the GPS and your answers.
Thank you
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Old Dec 4th, 2006, 04:18 AM
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I rented a car, for the first time in Europe, on my last trip recently to southern Tuscany. I thought I should get a GPS because of this and ordered one. They told me they could not guarantee it but they would put in a request for it and I should hope for the best.

When getting the car, they told me the GPS was available, it was an extra 10 Euros per day and I was glad that I could get it. But when I made the good move of asking whether it was insured for theft or damage, they told me that it was not and I would/could be charged the price of $600 if something happened to it. I right then and there said no thank you and did not get it.

I had absolutely no trouble navigating the small winding roads of Tuscany, or the autostrada getting out of Rome, without the GPS. And as kerouac says, getting lost in a place like southern Tuscany small hill towns only proved to be a plus. We ended up visiting several places that were not even in my plans and they were some of the nicest !!
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Old Dec 4th, 2006, 04:51 AM
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Our GPS is portable and weighs less than 10 oz. When we stop for lunch/shopping, my wife disconnects it from its base and places it in her Barney Bag (her purse).

We were in Tuscany for a week, and twice getting lost wasn't fun. Once we missed our lunch reservations, and another time we wanted to get back to our home base before dark.

To each his own, but I wouldn't leave home without it.
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Old Dec 4th, 2006, 07:17 AM
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This is probably a dumb question, but can you buy a portable GPS in the US and get the software you need for, say, France? And can you plug it into any car you rent?
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Old Dec 4th, 2006, 08:05 AM
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Carolynk, I've been thinking the same thing. I'm considering getting one for my husband for Christmas and have been checking reviews. Naturally, the one with the best reviews (Garmin) is very expensive, around $700.

I'm still looking. I want one that's small & portable and can be loaded with all different countries software. I'll post back what I decide.
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Old Dec 4th, 2006, 08:09 AM
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Yes. Garmin sells both the portable & the European maps. It depends upon which Garmin you have. For example, I have the C330 StreetPilot which came loaded with the North American maps. I had to purchase separately the City Navigator Europe software plus a SD card which plugs into the GPS unit.

If you buy direct from Garmin, it will be more expensive than if you shop, shop, shop on the internet for deals. They are out there. Prices seem to be dropping as these are getting more popular.
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Old Dec 4th, 2006, 08:17 AM
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We got ours for $600 (my wife bought it for Christmas last year), and you can now get them for $400. The Europe V8 software is now about $250. I paid $280 for the V7 version, so there are deals out there.

Linda, the $700 one probably has a lot of "stuff" on it that I would never use, so I would recommend checking out the features.

Here's a list of stores on line that sells Garmin products, plus I'm sure many other GPS manufacturers. They are all different prices between stores, so shop around. http://www.garmin.com/cgi-bin/online...T=Show+Dealers
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