We are renting a car in Ireland in April. Our travel agent said GPS are expensive. Does Google maps work or is it very expensive. Should we bring a portable GPS? Thanks!
Kathy - We picked up a Garmen Nuvi for our trip to Ireland last summer from Amazon.com for about $100, because the cost of including it in the car rental was outrageous. It worked just fantastic and my daughter is using it today here in the states.
It's better to bring your own (with Europe maps installed). You will already know how to use it, and you can preprogram some of your stops before you leave on your trip.
Hi, We rented a GPS from hertz rental at the Shannon airport and it stopped working our first day out in Galway. We bought the Ireland Ordanance Map at a local store and found it a great source-along with asking for directions from the localsSpent two weeks on the West Coast and had no problems. Tom
In our travels, we found the GPS was a great safety-feature when it came to negotiating roundabouts (rotaries) which are very common in Ireland. The GPS alerts you when you're approaching one, and then tells you which road you'll be taking off the roundabout. So once you enter the roundabout the only thing you need to worry about is driving the "opposite" way round and merging with drivers coming from unexpected angles. I agree that bringing your own GPS over (with the European chip) is the way to go. And definitely bring along an up-to-date paper map as back-up. The GPS may not be aware of the newest roads and remain convinced you are hurtling through a pasture instead of a lovely dual carriageway (divided highway).
I would take my own gps because of familiarity and reliability. We used our Garmin, and it was extremely useful. It shows the name and number of the road you are driving as well as the speed limit. The signage in Ireland is about non-existent. With our Garmin, that was not a problem. We also had an atlas which we bought in Dublin before we headed out. I would tell you exactly which one we had, but it is presently in Ireland with some of our friends. It was also needed several times. With both, we had no problems getting around. Driving was enjoyable. Just expect narrow roads, and be ready to stop or slow down quickly for cyclists, walkers, motorized wheelchairs, cows, sheep, and neighbors visiting on the roadway. We saw all of those, especially cyclists.
Google maps are a can of worms: * If you pre-print them in a scale that you can read, they're going to be like the old strip maps - - get off the track and you have no idea how to get back. * if you use them live (for turn-by-turns) you need to be on cellular data which will empty your wallet. You can pre-load maps to a device (MapsWithMe is one app that's pretty good) and use the gps function with cell data off. You have no turn-by-turn, but you know where you are at any scale. An Ordnance (note spelling) Survey map works just fine. Watch the scale, you might wind up buying larger than you need. A new gps with extra maps would probably cost less than what it costs to rent one. Roundabouts are well signed by route number and next town. I wouldn't want to try to read a gps during the merge/exit process.