We have a Garmin GPS unit with lifetime updated maps which only covers the US. We would like to use a Garmin for travel in Europe. Can we get the European maps added to our current unit without screwing up the lifetime US maps? Or would we be better off to buy a new Garmin unit with just the European maps? If we were to do that, does anyone know where we would buy such an item and would it also have lifetime updated maps. I would like to stick with the Garmin brand due to familiarity with how the product works.
I went to the Garmin website just yesterday and downloaded the map for France (it also included the Benelux countries). I think it was about $70.
I have never posted a response before, though I follow the travel forum. I've decided to jump in here because I have successfully used my Garmin GPS several times in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Ireland and England. However, I have also had difficulty with downloaded European maps. Downloading did not work for me this past spring when I went to Spain. Followed the on-line directions and it even appeared Spain was in the Garmin when I checked in at home before leaving. Got to Spain - only country that downloaded was France. Maybe a fluke, but my Garmin was useless. Was not traveling with my laptop so I couldn't try to down load again. Ended up using my Android phone google maps and my wife's iPhone map program - both worked great. Used a bit of memory - but probably less than $25 for five days of driving. When I have used a chip purchased through Amazon for Europe maps the Garmin has always worked very well in Europe. So, you won't mess up the US maps, but I would caution about using the download.
My friend has an older Garmin, and he then bought European maps with unlimited updates. This has worked fine (we used it in April-May 2014 on our trip to Sicily, and last year he used it in Greece). However, the catch is that when you buy the maps with unlimited updates, it's only for that particular model; the maps are not transferable. If he were to buy a new Garmin, he would have to buy new European maps as well.
I do remember him telling me about having to do some gyrations to get to downloaded maps loaded on to his unit (something like having to burn them to a DVD, then put them on a microSD card, or was it vice versa?). So you may want to do a search on how to do this before buying.
If you want to buy a new Garmin with just European maps, probably the easiest place is Amazon.co.uk.
Longterm, your best bet is to buy a new unit with North American and European maps already loaded but w/o all the bells and whistles that make some models pricier.
We used a garmin in southrn France and Northern Spain and found it essential and the best thing was I rented it! Not with the car but on my own via the internet it cost about $75 for a 21 day rental and was preloaded with the latest maps of europe! Considering getting one in a car rental is about $8/day and buying new about $150 plus map cost this was , in my opinion, the most cost effective way to go.