GPS Dilemma

May 5th, 2014, 10:24 AM
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GPS Dilemma

We have an old (bought it in '08 or '09) Garmin 370 that worked well during trips to France, but we've never updated it. They have discontinued that model but upgrades are supposedly still available. However, I read online that the upgrades don't always work and hard to get tech support.

I'm considering buying a TomTom with Europe maps for our trip to Languedoc this June, which would be less expensive than renting a unit through AutoEurope.

So, I guess my questions is: has anyone updated an old Garmin 370-- and how important would that even be? Or does anyone have the TomTom, and how do you like it?

Thanks for any advice!
grandmere is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 10:53 AM
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Don't update an old Garmin! I have tried so with my not-so-old Nüvi and it never worked. First of all, the primary storage wasn't sufficient for the updated maps. I tried to store the data on an SD-card (as was explained during the process) but the device didn't find these data while I was driving.

I have no experience with a TomTom.
MyriamC is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 10:59 AM
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hi grandmere .. I'm just back from a trip to the UK. My sister and I used the TomTom app on an iPhone 5c ..

We kept the phone plugged in while driving and were very pleased with directions. In ~600 miles, there were only two instances of "That's not a road" (barred gate over grassy lane).

It wasn't a separate item, using the app, so I'm making an assumption that I'd be pleased with a TomTom GPS unit as well.
scotlib is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 11:00 AM
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G'mere, we started off with a Garmin, but soon ran into problems with it, so we replaced it with a TomTom which has proved a lot better. we've used it all over Europe and it worked very well. lots of updates which really aren't that expensive, particularly if you wait for the offers they sometimes have.

BTW, there is a very good Cadogan guide to Languedoc -Roussillon.
annhig is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 11:11 AM
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I have had a Garmin 370 for several years and have updated it many times and it has worked fine after updating. The problem with the 370 is the capacity and I have had to put the maps in a couple of sd card. The US maps in one and the Europe maps in another. The Garmin has always worked fine with both sd cards. No problems at all.

Last year, because I wanted new technology, I bought a new Garmin Nuvi3597LM with the Europe maps installed (I had to order it from Amazon UK, could not find it with the Europe maps anywhere in the US). I have used it three times in Europe and I am quite happy with it. I use the old 370 in PR and the US and keep updating it.
Luhimari is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 11:30 AM
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Grandmere.It is no longer possible to purchase a new Garmin in the US with preloaded maps of Europe, I understand.
I have two Garmin models with preloaded maps, one which I regularly update.
I did not go to Europe this past year but have taken them with me several times and never have had a problem after updating since I can do so every time a new map is released.
I always update the US at the same time and have used the Garmin here after updating and never have a problem.
I intend to take my Garmin with me this Summer.

Are you saying that the model you have has trouble with the upgrades or any model? And do you know what kind of problems seem to occur. I believe mine is a Nuvi 1390. And this model is outdated now also. It is several years old.
Sher is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 12:02 PM
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I have a TomTom. Two, in fact -- one for Europe and one for the U.S. I highly recommend them.

Get one with the RDS-TMC antenna (you might have to purchase it separately but they aren't expensive: ) and it will keep you updated on delays and (most) road construction.

I would avoid using a phone as a GPS because they can chew through your data relatively quickly and it sucks when you have either no signal or E or H data speeds.
sparkchaser is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 12:21 PM
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I bought a little chip of European maps that I inserted into my Garmin, worked freat.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 12:32 PM
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I remember the times when we used the good old yellow Michelin maps and always found our way. That said, you old 2008 GPS will still work fine except in a few places where new roads have been built recently (but in these situations, the maps and the road signs may help).

But if you want to rely on a GPS with up-to-date maps, buy a cheap one. A European device like TomTom (there are many other producers) generally works better in Europe than Garmin, while Garmin is better in North America than European makes. It has to do with different concepts of towns.
traveller1959 is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 02:28 PM
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FYI, In Belgium a TomTom VIA 135 pack with lifetime maps (Europe), speak&go, Bluetooth, etc. costs as little as 159 euro.
MyriamC is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 02:50 PM
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Paper maps are still quite nice and can be unfolded over your bedspread every evening in the hotel to make new plans, unlike a GPS device.
kerouac is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 06:50 PM
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You CAN purchase a Garmin in the USA with both European and USA maps: Garmin 2577LT. Costs about $210.

Here is the link:

It has full European coverage including Eastern Europe/Balkans. (TomTom has incomplete coverage in those areas).

Just got back from a trip to Europe and the 2577 worked great, including all the markers for service stations and restaurants.
goodhikers is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 07:02 PM
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I have had the European TOM TOM for many years-purchased it in the UK. It has taken us from South Africa to Tasmania;Chile to Morocco and all places within. Any time we are going somewhere overseas, we just make sure that it has the updated maps on it. Love it!
dutyfree is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 07:58 PM
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Thanks, all, for the great advice. Our yellow paper Michelin maps are all set to go, and we will probably buy a TomTom for this trip.

Just a question, Scotlib: didn't using the iPhone as a GPS use a lot of data and therefore become a pretty expensive process?
grandmere is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 02:58 AM
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grandmere, I saw sparkchaser's note and meant to call my sister to ask - but forgot - last evening. I will try harder to contact her this evening. Like you, I want to know, so that should help the memory

We did have the data roaming off, I believe. My understanding has been that GPS signal is not the same as what's needed for the phone to work as a phone.
scotlib is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 03:05 AM
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One thing .. we had trouble with the volume. It was fine with the car off, but seemed to disappear into the noise of the car when driving. It would be very difficult if driving alone to hear (I held the phone up to get it closer).

We purchased a small ball speaker on our first day at Tesco, which helped, something like this

I always meant to look into the app's preferences and make sure it was set to the loudest it could be, but didn't remember each time until the app was running and I didn't want to mess with navigation.
scotlib is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 04:04 AM
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scotlib, I didn't think about the GPS apps that store the map locally -- I was thinking of Google's navigation and the like. So my comment isn't necessarily 100% applicable.

The iPhone TomTom app looks like it stores maps locally but be sure to read the reviews because I'd hate to spend that much money on an app and get something I hated.
sparkchaser is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 04:27 AM
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grandmere, you are further ahead with planning than I am, but I need to get my act together.

One thought I had was to take an old iphone and jailbreak it and get a European sim card that includes data. I can use that gps app and I get the benefit of being able to use the phone if needed (sometimes we need to use it for hotel questions, changes, etc.) and also using the texting. I will still end up carrying my primary phone in case of emergency back home, but that won't be my primary. One downside to this plan is that I have to now carry 2 different chargers which becomes a pain.

interesting experiences!
surfmom is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 04:48 AM
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One downside to this plan is that I have to now carry 2 different chargers which becomes a pain.

Not really. Just get something like this:

Then all you need is a USB cable for each device, which you should already have.

Please note that this particular charger will not rapid charge your iPad. If you need that capability, get this one: but you will need a plug adapter.
sparkchaser is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 04:51 AM
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The GPS signal is indeed not the same as what's needed for the phone to work as a phone, so no roaming costs.
We only use our phone as a GPS when we walk or cycle but not in the car.
MyriamC is offline  

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