I realize this must be a question that is now "prehistoric", but I need some guidance on purchasing a gps handheld unit. We are planning a trip in the fall starting in Paris and ending in Naples, Italy. We will be using all public transportation including trains, (no cars). We do not have a iPhone or iPad tHat is compatible for this. I want it just for basic directions in the cities (we have found, by previous experience, that we are directionally challenged and need help). Basic directions to hotels, restaurants, sightseeing, etc. The more I look on line, the more confused I'm getting, and then I also see the information I do find are 3 - 4 years old. I also find that some of the gps units recommended are more for automobile driving, which quite often would not help with walking distances. Any suggestions would be grateful!
Others may have some ideas for you, but when in the cities and villages I try to use a good old fashioned paper map. I do have a GPS that I use for driving but don't really bother with anything electronic while seeing the cities. You can usually get a local map for free and just ditch it when you move on to your next location.
Sorry, nope. We've been through all of that. We've been to Europe about a dozen times, and we've had a lot screwed up trips doing it this way. Similarly as much as my husband swears by old fashioned maps while driving in the good old USA, my life became incredibly stress- free when I bought my little favorite buddy gps. I really want, this time, to be able to relieve this bit of European stress as much as possible.
I went ahead and bought the cheapest Garmin Nuvi with Europe maps that I could find (think it was model 275). It worked well when we were walking around in Munich trying to find an ATM. I noticed that many of the newer GPS have a walking/street setup for exactly those times when you are on foot. Just be sure you have a way to charge it since they usually come with only a car charger.
I have used our Garmin Nuvi for just the purpose you are talking about and it worked fine. I would buy the cheapest available current model and get the European map card and a charger that works on 110/220 volts as well as a European plug adapter. The pedestrian mode is handy since it ignores one way streets that the vehicle modes have to honor. Also when you switch the unit on, you really want to be standing in an open area so it will acquire satellites faster.
The downside of using a car GPS in pedestrian mode is that the battery life is not good once it is unplugged (maybe a couple of hours). I use a handheld Garmin unit that is designed for geocaching and hiking, and has maps installed which make it like a road atlas in your hand. Its battery life is more like 10-12 hours. Perhaps the car GPS will work fine for your purposes. If you want something with longer battery life, you could probably find a handheld in the same general price range. I could maybe make some suggestions for what to look for.
You should buy a GPS fit for hiking them, due to battery limitations.
Lynette, I've been travelling with a Garmin Nüvi for several years, and it's worked well for both driving and pedestrian use. However, I do agree with a previous comment that the battery life can be an issue. I tend to use it only when necessary, and then switch it off. The models designed for hiking may not work as well, as they may not have capability to install European street maps. Have a look at the Garmin 2475LT on Amazon or other sites. You should be able to find it in Best Buy or other stores for about $150. Happy travels!
As i stated previously, my handheld does have maps. And when I took it to Spain last year, I took out the US/Canada/Mexico card and put in the Western Europe card. Not only did I have maps and turn-by-turn navigation, I could also see where there were pharmacies, restaurants, gas stations, and everything else a car GPS can tell you.
Thanks for the help. I'm leaning towards the handheld and will look into the models suggested. Nancy, yes, if you could tell me what you have, it would be appreciated. Thanks,
I'm surprised at the positive responses to walking with a GPS because I had the opposite experience. Mine was not accurate at all in Paris due to tall buildings and meandering streets. I would have to walk a block just to get it to point in the right direction. A plain old fashioned compass was the best thing I had to orient my map. For driving it was wonderful and stress free. Walking in big cities not so much.
One other option to consider, since I'm also directionally challenged. I use the website Mappy to print out detailed maps of areas around each hotel, as well as less-known sites that I plan to visit. I do this before I leave on my trip. I copy the hotel-area map onto the back of my hotel reservation confirmation, so it doesn't generate more paper to carry. I find mappy output, plus a compass, helps me more than the maps on my iPhone. And it is a good supplement to the tourist maps, which often don't have small streets.