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sugarmaple Aug 17th, 2012 08:32 AM

Is a GPS going to make it that much easier?
We don't have a GPS at home, and would never really consider getting one, but a couple of friends loved using one in Ireland.

As I`m the navigator, it might be preferable to having my head stuck in a map, and my husband, as a geographer ``never gets lost`` (ahem - never gets lots, just doesn`t know where he is). He`s quite ok with getting one, but I want to know if they`re really worth it, or is it marketing that`s making me even consider this.

I`m guessing we can get just as lost with a GPS as without, and its going to be 120E for two weeks, so what`s your experience - worth it or not.

If not, any standout maps we should get.

adrienne Aug 17th, 2012 08:40 AM

I get by with Michelin maps. I think E120 is a lot of money for a GPS for 2 weeks. You can always stop and ask the way. And if you get lost you'll see things that were not on your itinerary - a bonus!

adrienne Aug 17th, 2012 08:41 AM

If you do decide on the GPS you have to download Europe maps to it otherwise it's useless.

adrienne Aug 17th, 2012 08:42 AM

Doesn't your rental car offer a GPS option. It's probably called a Sat Nav.

tailsock Aug 17th, 2012 08:48 AM

CityMaps2Go is a good offline utility if you have a smartphone

RonZ Aug 17th, 2012 08:53 AM

GPS is useful in cities, but otherwise a decent set of maps will suffice.

janisj Aug 17th, 2012 09:20 AM

In cities very useful (but you probably won't be driving in many cities). I'm not against SatNavs but you have to be VERY careful what you enter. Exact post codes or locations because there are so many similar (or identical) place names.

Out in the countryside, even w/ a SatNav you'll want a regular road atlas. Folding maps are difficult but a proper road atals is great. Don't buy one til you are there -- MUCH cheaper than you can buy in the states.

ira Aug 17th, 2012 09:48 AM

Hi SM,

> its going to be 120E [to rent]

A. You can buy a TomTom XXL 540TM World Traveler 5-Inch Portable GPS Navigator with Lifetime Traffic & Maps and World Maps at amazon dot com for $221.27

B. You can get lost with a GPS, especially if it is an unfamiliar one.
On a recent visit to New England our device kept trying to take me up unpaved roads.

C. The GPS isn't perfect. It can take you to the wrong place.
I always have it plan the trip in advance to see where we are going and how.
I also use a map on the internet to allow me to customize my trip - eg, the GPS could take you a mile away from a really interesting spot.

D. The GPS can fail you - either the battery is drained or something worse. I always make a back of road directions.

I suggest that you get the TomTom, or something like it, along with an ARKON TTEP129-ST-RVC TomTom EasyPort Removable Swivel Air Vent Mount and the Universal USB Home Charger (Compatible with All GPS Brands).

Enjoy your new toy.


nytraveler Aug 17th, 2012 09:55 AM

IMHO GPS are terminally stupid and we rely solely on maps. Michelin are great for driving - but make sure they have enough details. (I've had 2 new car service drivers misdirected in Manhattan by their GPS. One was lured into the Lincoln Tunnel and had to back out of the entrance - wasn't that fun!) For cities you need detailed walking maps which you can buy or easily download.

The key thing is to map out the route before you start out for the day - not figure it out on the fly. And do know if the roads are signed for the nearest town or the largest town in that direction (any local can tell you).

ira Aug 17th, 2012 10:01 AM


For a reasonable additional fee, you can download safety (speed) cameras for all European countries (the Americas are free).

The TomTom will tell you when you are approaching one.

Randy Aug 17th, 2012 10:03 AM

I got a GPS on Ebay for a little over $80 and got the maps for USA, Canada and Europe.

jaja Aug 17th, 2012 10:06 AM

Personally I want a gps simply because of a situation I found myself in while driving teenage grandsons around Ireland in '09. We had gone into town for dinner from our farm b&b and got horribly lost in the dark trying to find our way back. If not for the gracious assistance from a total stranger we would probably still be wandering around hopelessly lost! Had we put the b&b coordinates into the satnav we would have had an easy drive "home."

There is the charming "faery-led" getting lost while exploring the countryside and then there is the frightening getting lost as described above.

sugarmaple Aug 17th, 2012 10:31 AM

Thanks for the input - just what I'm looking for.

The rental with Hertz is a SatNav for E120.

We don't plan to drive in Dublin, Belfast and Derry will be our largest cities.

I purchased a Michelin 712 here, but of course, it's a folding map, so I think it might be a good idea, whether or not we rent the GPS, to get a road atlas once we get there.

Many thanks.

jaja Aug 17th, 2012 10:52 AM

"gotten" Cheest!

And I have been told (on Fodor's, I believe) that in some countries in Europe having the speed camera info on your satnav is against the law. No personal knowledge of this.

longhorn55 Aug 17th, 2012 11:06 AM

Just get a map.

Here's my experience from two driving trips in Ireland--a good road map will do you fine. We did an 8-day driving trip through the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in 2009 and had no problem with the Rough Guide folding map that I ordered from Amazon for about $10. This folding map was so well constructed that we were able to use it again for another 8-day driving trip in 2011. Another thing I liked about this road map is that it showed places of interest--abbeys, ring forts, castles, etc. so it was easy to vary our routes to include these sites as we drove from place to place. You won't get that feature with a GPS!

You are going to get turned around in Ireland at least once or twice even if you have a GPS. We got turned around just twice using our maps, once in Kilkenny and once around Newgrange. The locals, including two schoolboys near Newgrange, were happy to help us out and get us going the right way again. That's part of the charm of Ireland!

Most people who end up buying or renting a GPS for Ireland say you need to have a map as well. Personally, if a GPS is not sufficient without a map, then why buy (or rent) it?

While I found the Rough Guide folding map perfectly good for our two driving trips, I know that the OSI series (Ordnance Survey Ireland) is well-regarded and highly-touted.

Tesana Aug 17th, 2012 11:15 AM

at the price of a GPS today, there is no reason not the buy one, just make sure its got a USB port to download European maps from the internet, i own a TomTom and love it for Europe travel , BUT, i would never go anyware without a map ( i love looking at them). if need be, i can read a map and not get lost, but you'll be able to see more sites if your eyes are not on the map all the time.and you'll know exactly how far away your are from designations with a TomTom. can a GPS give you bad directions? it can give you a route that may not be the best, but it will get you there, but heck that is why you have a map so you can second guess it!

Tony2phones Aug 17th, 2012 11:28 AM

Our visitors came over two weeks ago via Dublin Port. Ignored my directions which would have got them here in 2 1/2 hours and relied on their Sat Nav. Instead of arriving at 8.30 to 9 pm they got here at midnight.

Huggy Aug 17th, 2012 11:43 AM

I believe both a map and a GPS. It makes driving easier. If those people are happy with just a map, fine. However, just think what you might miss observing with your head in a map.I use them both and the GPS really helps in the dark when road signs cannot be read. I just think it is sensible to use technology to make your trip much more enjoyable.

Judith_Hunter Aug 17th, 2012 01:40 PM

We bought the cheapest tom tom last week for our trip to France next week (also bought a map). We have started using it here in Australia to get the hang of it. I wish we had had one years ago for getting to soccer matches and work meetings, especially when driving without a navigator. I know they have foibles but they can be pretty handy too.
Just take note of how big the memory is and whether that's enough for the maps you want to load.

jaja Aug 17th, 2012 01:41 PM

I'm with Huggy. In my previous post I did not intend to say not to take a map. Certainly I have toured Ireland 5 of the 6 times without a satnav and was able to find my way back to south Texas.

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