I've read in the travel guides that GPS uses data. Actually, GPS DATA is FREE. (I've actually used GPS on my phone in foreign countries when my phone had no SIM card in it!)
The problem is that some apps, such as Google Maps, use cellular data.
So be sure to find an alternative to Google Maps that has the country you're visiting. I've used both Sygic and MapQuest, but my experience isn't exhaustive, and other visitors to this website probably have some great suggestions.
One last note: GPS DOES use a lot of battery, so keep the phone plugged in when you're driving and turn the GPS off when you're not using it -- don't let it linger in the background.