Please sign in to post.

Which TomTom or Garmin?

I'm looking to buy a GPS for our trip to Scotland in September. I'm too confused by all the models.
Would you let me know what MODEL# and BRAND you like the best, and HAVE USED - looking for experienced users, not someone guessing.

So far I'm considering the Garmin Nuvi 2559LMT -I like Garmin since I've had experience with a much older model.
It would cost more to rent a GPS from the rental car company, so spending $200 for a new GPS would be fine with me, I'd hope we'd use it again sometime in Europe. Sadly, the cars available do not have built in GPS, the company rents a unit.

Wish I could just use maps on my phone, but I'm not getting a data plan or European phone.

Posted by
22 posts

Don't spend this money on a GPS unit. This is so 2008.

Take your smartphone, a charger, and buy an app. TomTom works best for my preferences. The app will set you back some € 40 for full functionality. It has offline maps, so you don't need a data plan (though a tiny one with 100 MB or so will help to get on-the-move updates).

Posted by
249 posts

We have used the Garmin 2559LMT in both Europe (France, Germany, Switzerland) and Hawaii without problems. Register the device with Garmin and get the updates. It takes a while for it to figure out where it is on a new continent, but it did the job. Although it may want to send you into pedestrian zones (as in Dinan, France). It provides alerts to school areas and some speed traps. It is a good purchase if you are comfortable with Garmin. I have no experience with the Tom Tom app.

Posted by
703 posts

if you do happen to buy a gps? definitely have a close look at the TOM TOM. I bought one to use in europe, and it worked better than the unit in a new car, we tested them side by side.
BUT the best thing about TOM TOM is their MAP CODE system. it is a smart way of putting in the exact address. it sounds easy to just put in our destination ( either on a phone or gps) but often there are numerous towns with the same name etc, all in foreign language etc.
The map codes can be looked up ( when you are booking your accommodation/thing to see, like an abbreviated address) and then when you are there you simply input a 'short string of characters' and its exactly the correct address to head to.
Yes this might sound, like extra work, but as a driver who has driven many thousands of klms in numerous countries, it is so relaxing to know the unit is taking you to the correct address.
no tie to TOM TOM, just a happy customer.

hope this helps.

Posted by
185 posts

Which rental car company are you looking at? I'm renting with Arnold Clark for my trip this summer. Their prices were competitive and all inclusive with the insurance and one way drop off fees and such. They also are renting me a gps for 20 pounds for the whole 10 day rental period which was wayyy cheaper than the other rental companies. I just wanted to mention this in case you wanted to look at other rental companies as opposed to purchasing something that you might not have a use for again.

Posted by
824 posts


I've used a Garmin Nuvi (so old the model number is irrelevant) with great success in the UK and Germany. If you are planning a lot of driving, I would definitely use a dedicated GPS unit...

However, I don't understand why you are resistant to getting a local phone plan (with data) during your trip. My last trip to the UK I spent about £ 25 for 4GB of data. I find that having google maps and transportation planners available on my phone makes for much less stressful travel. And, most smart phones sold in the USA for the past 6 or so years are unlocked when it comes to 'non-competitor' (foreign) SIM cards.

I have also used the MapsWithMe ( on my iPhone and an Android table. The app works great even when the device is in airplane mode but you must download all the maps prior to leaving on your trip. The other downside is that the maps can take up a lot of space on your device.

Posted by
1014 posts

Hi Ellen,

I have used 2 different Garmin in Europe for the past 10 years or so. I had to buy Europe map chips extra. I bought used ones from Ebay at half what Garmin sells them for. Any one you use, you will have to put the address in. My recommendation is to look the address up before you go on google maps. Get the co-ordinates and print them. Take with you, and when you are close, put the co-ordinates in. Saves trying to spell foreign words with a US keyboard. I also take a map with us. Helps find interesting things around where we are staying. Plus, the front cover tells us about driving regulations in the country we are in.