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Rental car navigation systems

What are your thoughts ? Are they necessary for UK rental car travel ? We both have smart phones and we have a Garmin whose maps we could update. Would that be enough ? Will they work well in the highlands? Or should we add navigation to our car rental ?

Thank you !! :)

Posted by
9577 posts

I would not, given what you already have.

If your garmin cannot get a signal, I see no reason to believe a car based system would.

Posted by
6222 posts

I prefer to bring along my own GPS from home - I've used it before, I am familiar with how it works. I've jumped in cars from Sapporo to Vilnius and found a GPS installed, but language and user-interface issues made those more of a puzzle. Language should be less of an issue in the UK, but familiarity counts - when you're disoriented and flummoxed, and behind the wheel in a foreign land (where they drive on the wrong side), it's no time to try and figure out how to work a new GPS system.

For me, I have all these working for me:

  • GPS from home with updated database - check.
  • Phone(s) and tablet(s), with map apps and connectivity plan - check.
  • Paper maps, reviewed and folded for handy cross-reference for the day's drive - check.
  • Head screwed on properly, brain engaged, aware of my location, destination and route, my surroundings and common sense switched on - check.

All four of these are good to have. Anything electronic can and will eventually fail you. Be ready when that happens.

Posted by
6287 posts

Just to add to the sensible advice above, why pay for what you won't need?

Posted by
3020 posts

I have a Tom Tom that we brought, as it turns out the car we rented had built in GPS that we didn't have to pay for. I wouldn't count on this and I'd bring your Garmin. However, we learned from experience that UK addresses can be different than what you're used to. The car rental guy advised that we use postal codes (zip code) when entering an address. The car GPS allowed that but our Tom Tom didn't. I'd recommend you check if your Garmin allows you to enter postal codes.

Posted by
4939 posts

Language should be less of an issue in the UK, but familiarity counts

Unless the previous renter was German or French and left the device in their language (car rental staff never check the sat nav system).

Almost every car I've rented in Mallorca has had the sat nav set to German, so much so that I can now easily work out how to change it to English.