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Best GPS for Europe

Melbourne, Australia
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208 posts
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Best GPS for Europe

Can any one advise on the best/easiest navigation system to purchase for our European trip travelling from Australia? We will be leasing a car from Paris driving to Normandy, Belgium, Netherlands and maybe Germany. We have driven in Europe twice before just using good maps but found on our last trip 2 years ago getting in/around and out of towns and cities were a real hassle if you took a wrong turn.At times we spent too much time trying to get out of a city - wasting a bit of time! We won't really be using it to get from town to town or to plan our trip but will definately use it to navigate ourselves in and out of towns. We could organise it through the leasing company but it has been suggested to us to purchase a unit in Australia before we go. I have been told the Tom Tom XL250 is a resonable one to buy? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Sydney, Australia
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for Train Travel
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1. Re: Best GPS for Europe

They all work off the same base maps, supplied by the French mapping authorities, so choose one that has the features that you want. They all work.

Melbourne, Australia
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208 posts
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2. Re: Best GPS for Europe

Thank's for your prompt reply - the problem is I've never used one so don't know what features I want or need - except that I want it to be easy to use.

Sydney, Australia
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for Train Travel
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3. Re: Best GPS for Europe

I think they are all pretty easy to use. Maybe go into a store that sells a good range (Harvey Norman, Bing Lee) on a weekday when a sales person will have time to talk about the features on various models.

Obviously, a large screen will be easier to read in a quick glance. And the more expensive ones have more options.

Fairbanks, Alaska
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4. Re: Best GPS for Europe

I prefer the models that speak the street names. (Some just say: "turn left in 300 meters;" it's easier if they say the actual street name). Also, try to find one that already has Europe maps loaded into it; many sold in the US do not, so that is an extra cost.

My current GPS allows 2 stops to be input. For our trip, I've ordered a new one that allows multiple stopping points, so I can program ahead a bit. (I dropped the old one on a tile floor, which affected the sound, and it doesn't have Europe maps, so it makes sense to replace it.)

I have a Garmin and have been happy with it, but I have nothing to compare it to. The new one is also a Garmin. Garmin sells additional "City Xplorer" maps for Paris, Amsterdam, etc. that look interesting.

Los Angeles...
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for Venice, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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5. Re: Best GPS for Europe

We have Garmin 770 which we purchased from Amazon.com a few years back with European maps preloaded on it. It worked like a charm in the Dordogne in 2009 and in New England this fall, as well as many other places in between, and did wonders for the marriage. But, as noted by AAL, I have nothing to compare my GPS to and others could be way better.

Washington DC...
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6. Re: Best GPS for Europe

I have a Garmin 660 and it works very well. I use it here in the US, but last Spring we toured New Zealand and Australia. I ordered the Aus/NZ data base from Garmin on an SD memory card and we used it throughout our trip. I am going to France this May and plan to get the European data base as well. It is invaluable, especially in cities.

Get a decent model which speaks to you directions as one other poster noted. You will get every penny's worth from the unit during your drive. Enjoy.

Toowoomba, Australia
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7. Re: Best GPS for Europe

After two trips to France, we purchased a TomTom [ who knows what model as they change so quickly ] for our trip in Sept-Oct-Nov last year. It [she] was great for the reasons you have mentioned [ venturing into larger places ].I agree with SydneyNick about visiting outlets on weekdays.

If the GPS does not come pre loaded with the European maps [ours did not ] just make sure it has the capability to take a memory card to down load the relevant map. And take no notice of the salesman who tells you that 1gb of memory on the GPS will be sufficient for the European map .

We used ' Kate' often but still checked with our well thumbed Michelin Road Atlas before following her blindly.

Happy travels.

Sydney, Australia
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for Train Travel
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8. Re: Best GPS for Europe

My Navman S150 has enough built-in memory to be able to hold Australia and most of Europe without needing an extra memory card.

Tripping around Europe in 2009, the Navman quite often tried to take us into pedestrian areas, the wrong way along one-way streets, and along country "short cuts" that were one-lane tracks. We took to calling it "FRED" on the grounds that it was a Ridiculous Electronic Device. I can't now remember what the F stood for....

Seriously, it was a very helpful tool but its instructions had to be balanced against common sense and interpretation of old-fashioned maps.

Toowoomba, Australia
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9. Re: Best GPS for Europe

We had several instances where 'Kate' tried to take us down one way streets the wrong way or seems to pick unexpected routes.Off the topic a bit I know but -We are heading to Sydney next week and Tomtom plots a different route ,so as we have time we are going to follow it - been down the New England highway more times than we can count!

.As Sydney Nick has said, use common sense. Here in Australia some GPS do not come with a big internal memory. Then again we bought ours 12 months ago and things change so quickly. It was cheaper for us to buy our GPS and then buy the Europe map than to buy the one with a bigger memory or one that had the map already loaded. Six of one ,half adozen of the other.. We found ours very good. So do a bit of research and see which one suits you.

Aubrey, Texas
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10,527 posts
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10. Re: Best GPS for Europe

That's a good one, sydneynick! I have several gadgets that have just gained new names...

Our Garmin 670 only made a couple of mistakes last summer in France and was very helpful in getting around cities, towns and negotiating winding routes in the countryside where road changes happen frequently. On a major highway I find it a nuisance as the reminders for distance to the next point of reference happen too often for my taste. So we kept it turned off on the autoroutes, but charging. When charging I guess it's only half asleep because, surprisingly, it still sounded an alarm for the fixed speed camera locations. That's a cool feature to have.