GPS for a car rental in Italy?

Old Mar 30th, 2010, 06:47 AM
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GPS for a car rental in Italy?

We will be traveling from Rome to Puglia / Puglia to Sorrento/Sorrento to Rome.
My husband , adult son and myself...between the 3 of us our Italian is (at best) elementary!
I dont mind asking for directions ...if I speak the language........and I know Italians speak with their hands....but I dont think that will keep us on track! We are renting a car, I thought about just doing Google map directions, but I know there will be side trips....
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Old Mar 30th, 2010, 06:57 AM
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This is such a no brainer....GPS. Move on to less obvious travel research...
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Old Mar 30th, 2010, 07:02 AM
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I know a lot of people here think Google maps are wonderful and in a way they are..until they provide directions such as the ones I got telling me a major highway in Bavaria was crossing into Austria and it WASN'T!!!

For print out directions I would resort to www.viamichelin.com

I would TAKE an Italian PAPER roadmap as a backup..always a good idea...available online at at many larger book sellers

I would either take my own GPS loaded with appropriate maps (what I often do) or rent one along with the car.

A GPS is NOT foolproof...sometimes that "shortest" or "best" route can be to the moon first and then around the corner...but they are a lot better than the nastiness that can ensue when one has the inevitable "Why WON'T you ask for directions?" argument.
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 04:52 AM
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Thanks Dukey...I think Viajero2 misunderstood my question due to his(her) really abrupt response ! I have driven all over Europe and typically use viamichelin in my trip planning( to find out times and distances and to plan sidetrips). I was really inquiring about where to get a GPS (rental), thru the rental company? Shuold I buy one in the US and load maps as you suggested? I don't own one and my husbands is not removable from his his vehicle. Any recommendations on manufacturersa ? Thanks.
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 05:15 AM
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Our experience with GPS in Italy is that they are not very reliable once you're south of Rome. The device is only as good as the programmer, and there are many roads that are not loaded into the program. We've found that GPS often wanted to take us on longer, circuitous routes than would have been practical. Better to get a really good road map - not the ones they give you at the rental car company, but a road atlast (atlante stradale) which you can purchase at a bookshop or at any Autogrill.
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 06:09 AM
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Nothing beats an Italian Touring Club paper map, widely available.
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 06:26 AM
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My experience with GPS in Italy is that the one I had was very accurate and reliable either North or South of Rome.

Nobody is suggesting to rely blindly on GPS directions and forgo paper maps. To me it's not an either or question. A good paper map gives you a broad perspective, and I always have one with me. Online maps like google are great for checking out routes & distances and points of interest, and nothing beats a GPS for telling you exactly where you are.

Add in a little common sense and you'll have the tools you need.

My recommendation is to buy a GPS unit at home, become familiar with how to use it, buy Europe maps if needed on ebay, and you're be good to to. The cost of renting one will quickly surpass the cost of buying one. Becoming familiar with the software features will make using it in Italy easier. You can even pre-program some destinations before you leave home.

Garmin & Tom-tom are the 2 biggest brands. Magellan, Mio (owner of Magellan), Navigon and a few others all offer a range of quality products. All will have essentially the same GPS technology. The difference between models is in the software and other added (& unnecessary to me) features such as bluetooth, traffic updates, maps that come included, etc.

A $100 unit will give your exact position as well as a $300+ unit. You can save money by just buying a unit w/ US 48 states, then get additional maps on ebay.

I like a model that uses spoken street names (turn right on Elm St in 1/2 mile) over one that just says "turn right in 1/2 mile. That's a pretty standard feature nowadays.
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 08:28 AM
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Thanks very much for the great info...I think I'll prbably buy one AND a good map.
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