use of sat nav's

Sep 4th, 2009, 11:16 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2006
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use of sat nav's

I am touring the new england states this month and am enquiring whether the rental cars have sat nav's built in to the vehicles.Would it be wise to have my own satnav programmed with usa mapping before i leave the uk.
frankhp58 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 11:20 AM
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Some car companies offer it with rental, so call your rental car company and ask. I think it is an additional charge, but maybe you can get it as part of your rental if you have the car for a few days.

I hope you won't be using it in Boston, lol, not sure it would help much as the streets go one one in some sections, turn around and go another and there are traffic circles, and BAD traffic.

It should be fine outside Boston and should help.
travelbuff is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 11:28 AM
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Pretty much all major car rental companies offer this, at an extra cost per day. Also, beware that some companies only offer sat nav in their "bigger" cars, like midsize or larger, but NOT available in their compact or economy cars.

I'm not sure why travelbuff doesn't think it's useful for driving IN Boston. I can understand if travelbuff means that visitors not familiar with Boston should avoid driving in Boston, but if you have to, definitely use the Sat Nav. I live just a few miles outside of Boston, and I use my GPS occasionally. The GPS knows which streets are one-way, hence it won't take me down a one-way street in the wrong direction. It is superior than having a regular map which may or may no show which streets are one-way.
yk is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 11:37 AM
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Rental car co will charge $10/day, +/-. They are typically not built into the car, but rather an add-on unit from Garmin or another co.

If the cost to get US maps for your UK GPS is high, you could buy a basic US only GPS for $100 - $120.
J62 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 12:23 PM
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GPS used to not work well in Boston due to the constant rerouting, etc. that was associated with the Big Dig. Now that the project is finished, you shouldn't have any problems.
wyatt92 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2009, 08:51 AM
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You may also want to visit Walmart* on your arrival and purchase a current Rand McNally Road Atlas, they have them for $5.97.
RedRock is offline  
Sep 5th, 2009, 09:09 AM
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We recently bought a Tom-Tom GPS with US maps for less than $50/US. Found it on and a few other places. It's compact, speaks clearly. I like it more than the very expensive, less portable Garmin we bought years ago.
Had to laugh about how careful we have always been to hide the Garmin and lock car. Now it probably has very little street value!
elisabet is offline  
Sep 6th, 2009, 11:27 AM
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Posts: 4
Thanks for all those useful replies. I won't be driving in Boston but will be collecting and dropping the car off at logan.I am able to download usa mapping onto my navman satnav in the uk. Does anyone think that this would be a good idea?
frankhp58 is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 03:02 AM
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"Does anyone think that this would be a good idea?"

Yes, particularly if your device and software have a "detour" function. It can be used to get around construction and accidents, of course, but it can also be useful for getting off the main routes just for variety or better scenery. GPS devices (I have a low end Garmin) seem to want very much to send you by the fastest and most direct route, not always to the advantage of the visitor.
Ackislander is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 03:11 AM
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Yes, having a GPS in a strange place is a good idea. It's no substitute for a paper map and basic idea of the route you want to take. For that I find an invaluable tool.

All GPS units, including very low end or used models are very good at telling you where you are, which is often 1/2 the problem when you're navigating. I wouldn't be too concerned about the detour or blocked route function. While handy, your paper map won't have that either.
J62 is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 03:12 AM
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The last time I was in a car with a friend trying to use a GPS system, we got terribly lost trying to do a back roads route from NH to Sturbridge MA. DH and I use a state atlas and gazetteer published by DeLorme. We have one for VT, NH and Maine. This is a very detailed map of each state which also shows the location of covered bridges, waterfalls, good fishing spots, etc. It's bulky to use but great for off the beaten track routes. On our last trip to Maine we even looked at tourist brochures and noticed a small wildlife preserve on the coast. Turned out to be a public but little known stretch of beach where we enjoyed sitting out for awhile, watching the ocean.
Another problem we have encountered with GPS is that you have to LISTEN to it. If you are in a car with other folks carrying on a conversation, the driver has to pay attention to the voice instead of the gossip.
dfrostnh is online now  

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