gps in europe

Old Jun 9th, 2006, 03:55 PM
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gps in europe

I am looking into getting a gps for europe (italy). I know there are a few out there. Has anyone used the garmin or tom-tom???
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 05:40 PM
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We've used Tom-tom (not kim-kim) in Germany, England and Italy with great results. Jane (as we call her) is wonderful; light, portable and easy to program.
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 05:43 PM
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My BIL just got a Tom-tom (lives in England) and loves it. In fact, he's letting us borrow it while visit Portugal.
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 05:56 PM
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We have a garmin iQue - PDA & GPS combo. I like how it works with maps and coordinates.

We use it all the time but won't be taking it to Europe - the maps we would need/want would really mess with the budget!
Never heard of Tom-tom, I'll have to check it out.
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 06:21 PM
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We've used Microsoft AutoRoute on a laptop (driving), and Pocket Streets on an iPAQ Pocket PC (walking). Both work splendidly.

For the money you have to shell out for a dedicated GPS and its exorbitant maps, you can have a full-function computer that's also a GPS with a 14" screen! Plus, you get to keep the software when you upgrade the hardware.
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 06:23 PM
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If you are buying a U.S. GPS system, you will have to purchase European maps separately. For example, I have a Garmin which cost anywhere from $550-600. Additionally, the maps for Europe cost $280, plus the cost of the SD card.

I have no experience with the tom-tom, just the Garmin & Magellian. I thought the Garmin was more user friendly.

We have the Garmin because we travel a lot in the U.S. and it is portable for rental cars. I wouldn't purchase the system plus maps unless you are going to use it for U.S. and European travel. You might be better off renting the system with the rental car if you plan on only using it once or twice.
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 06:50 PM
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Several retail outlets have recently been offering Microsoft Streets & Trips (U.S. & Canada maps) with a Pharos GPS receiver for $70-80. I got AutoRoute (same software with maps for about 15 European countries) for $50 on eBay.

If you already have a laptop to run it on, those prices compare favorably to renting a mobile unit for a week.
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 08:06 PM
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My wife, the navigator, and I have made several driving trips to Spain, France and Italy. On our trip to Italy last fall we rented a Garmin GPS with our car through AutoEurope. Gotta tell you, it was very fun to have and easy to use.

One day the GPS routed us on a "shortcut", a dirt road not even indicated in our back-up Michelin map. We ended up driving through the middle of a vineyard. The GPS eventually routed us by the main house where we were fortunate enough to find an adjacent tasting room. The owner was so impressed with how we got there he gave us two bottles of wine.
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Old Jun 9th, 2006, 08:14 PM
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Celticdreams---we call our GPS lady "Jane," too. Just curious, but did your name have anything to do with Orson Scott Card's Ender series?
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 04:48 AM
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GPSs come in hundreds of models with varying sizes capabilities, and prices.

I've got a Garmin Etrex Legend Cx that I use for hiking / biking. It's a nice handheld toy/tool that cost $250 US. As mentioned before, most gps units require maps to be purchased separately.

I assume that you would use the gps to help you with city exploration. I am definitely going to use mine when I go back to Roma.

Of course, if you will be driving around Italy, the best solution is to order one with the rent-a-car. The automobile gps's have larger displays and voice interface.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 04:54 AM
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>The owner was so impressed with how we got there he gave us two bottles of wine. <

After you left, he said to his wife, "Anyone who could have gotten here on THAT road, deserves a bottle of wine".

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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 04:58 AM
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Is this for a single trip - or do you travel to Europe frequently, or live there?

If just for a trip or two - then i'd think renting a GPS w/ the car makes more sense. If for multiple trips, my friend in London swears by his Tom-tom.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 05:33 AM
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I don't agree that buying a GPS for the car rental company (which is what you're doing when you rent one) is better than buying it for yourself. Every cent you put into renting could have gone towards owning one. The rental prices I've seen would pay for it within a typical driving vacation.

Besides having large screens and voice prompting, laptop GPSs also allow you to export small-scale maps to a Pocket PC that you can use walking around. The GPS receiver I use plugs into a USB port on the laptop or a CompactFlash slot on the PPC.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 05:41 AM
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janisj, we use ours in the States all the time. On a trip to wine country in March, I programmed all the addresses for the wineries I wanted to go. The portable ones are great for rental cars when on travel.

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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 05:50 AM
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On our last German jaunt we declined paying for GPS when we rented our 7 psgr VW van. But when we went to the lot we saw it was equipped with GPS. I tried to use it but it told me to insert the CD. I assumed that if I had said "yes" to the rental agent she would have handed over the CD needed to run the GPS.

Two days later while the women were window shopping I got bored and waited in the van. Looking for something to do I decided to read the car manual. Inside the glovebox I found the CD! Popped that baby in and even though I had never usewd GPS before, it was simple to figure out - or so I thought. Used it for two more days straining my rudimentary knowledge to translate "Helga's" directions into English. One day while playing with the system once again I found the option of having my directions given to me in English. Then we learned we could locate restaurants based on Michelin ratings, exact directions to the closest parking lots near specific landmarks and scenic vs direct routes as well as detours around traffic Staus.

Since then I've played with Garmin, Tom-Tom and Magellan units but none can compare with what VW has integrated into some of their vehicles. Like Budman suggested, I would see about getting the GPS as part of the rental. Had we paid it would've been $7.00 per day. At the time it seemed expensive to cheapskate me but at $100 for a two week trip, it's more reasonable than paying $500-$700 for a basic device then another $300 or more for the European maps. Even then I doubt it could match the GPS in the VW. I understand that BMW and Mercedes use a similar system.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 06:13 AM
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A feature of the Microsoft programs I really like is that it will update the maps with current detour and construction delay data any time your laptop is on line.

It also pinpoints locations of (your choice of) about 20 categories of useful sites, such as hotels, restaurants, gas stations, rest areas, and historical sights.

As I said, a couple of weeks' rental comes close to buying one, and you never have to rent again.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 06:28 AM
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I haven't had a chance to use Autoroute in Europe (yet), but, I have used Streets and Trips on a laptop here in the US, and have been very pleased. A larger screen and a keyboard to enter addresses, when combined with the affordable price (I got S&T, Autoroute, and the GPS attachment for $110 from Amazon), makes it an outstanding choice.
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 06:59 AM
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That's an excellent buy! This is the best I could find:

Streets & Trips with GPS Locator $79.99: http://tinyurl.com/htoox

AutoRoute $39.95: http://tinyurl.com/k3muj

If you want to use the Locator with a PPC, add in the CF adapter $36.21: http://tinyurl.com/zq387
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 07:29 AM
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What I meant - the maps for Europe will be expensive. If the OP is only going to use it in Italy once or twice - then getting it w/ the rental car makes more sense to me.

A GPS in general is great - but whether it is a good idea to invest in European maps would be on a case by case basis
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Old Jun 10th, 2006, 10:45 AM
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There are three choices:
1. Rent a car, GPS, and maps.
2. Use your own portable GPS and buy maps.
3. Use your own computer and buy maps.

Obviously, the cheapest way is to get a GPS-equipped rental. But you have nothing to show for it when you turn in the car.

If you buy a dedicated GPS, the maps for Europe will be very expensive - enough so that it would be cheaper to buy a computer and GPS attachment. Budman said, "For example, I have a Garmin which cost anywhere from $550-600. Additionally, the maps for Europe cost $280, plus the cost of the SD card." So that's something just south of $900.

If you buy a general-purpose computer and GPS attachment instead of spending the same money on a dedicated GPS plus maps, you can have the same capability (actually more, because of the enhanced screen size) for not much more than $600 (see Amazon listings above).

<b>AutoRoute 2006 provides detailed street-level maps and address find capability for a number of countries across Western Europe. These include: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland (south-central only), Germany, Greece (Athens only), Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (England, Scotland, and Wales). You also get coverage for urban areas of France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and United Kingdom (Northern Ireland). In addition, AutoRoute 2006 also provides some street-level coverage, but does not support address find for, the Channel Islands, Czech Republic, Ireland, Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Slovakia, and Vatican City.</b>

I don't see anything even resembling a dilemma here.
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