If you’re heading out on a road trip, be it close to home or overseas, you want to be able to navigate. There is nothing worse than getting lost, genuinely lost, when you’re traveling and can’t find your way back on course – especially if you’re on a time crunch. While I would never recommend heading on a road trip without an actual paper map as a backup, using a satnav system solves your navigation woes and can let you focus on what really matters – the journey.
Depending on the country you are traveling in there may be an unbelievable amount of coverage or next to none, and you should research this before heading out on the road. There are some countries that simply don’t require such a system and should only be used if you can do so at no additional expense. For example, upon arriving in Christchurch, New Zealand a few years ago, I was told a GPS was pointless because ‘There is really only one road’ – which I found to be very much the truth. Japan on the other hand… well, there’s a reason the country has so many engineers!
Here are a few reasons why you should pick up a satnav system if a road trip is on the horizon. While many cars may come with these systems now or be available at car rental dealerships, they do come at an additional expense and have an unfamiliar interface/language that may make them troublesome to operate. Just be sure you have the latest maps uploaded before you leave!
Turn by Turn Directions
By now you should know that a satnav system links to a satellite to give you accurate directions from your starting point to your destination, but if you’ve never used one before you might be surprised how accurate these directions actually are.
Points of Interest
Unsure where to go but want to see some of the countryside? Many satnav systems come preloaded with different points of interest along the way, from scenic routes to landmarks you might otherwise miss. Check the website of the system you’re interested in to see what options are available to you.
Easy to Search Services
Almost out of fuel and not sure where the next station is? Tired beyond belief and want to bed down for the night? Most satnav systems will allow a general search for petrol stations, food, accommodations, banks and a host of other options and tell you how far away the nearest one is with directions to it. It’s great for traveling on the fly or emergency situations.
Peace of Mind
Most of all, getting a satnav system just makes road trips easier. It allows the traditional role of the passenger as navigator to be returned to one of leisure and can save a lot of fights between the driver when all you have to do is follow the voice. The beauty of a road trip is discovering your surroundings and letting a satellite do the navigating allows you to sit back and enjoy the drive.