My husband and I will be driving in France using a Garmin. What kind of success have others had with the NT Benelux or the Europe minicard or download? We have a NUVI 50.
I have the Europe and and it worked just fine. The only problem we had was that at times it worked too well taking us on the most direct route that at times looked more like cow paths than roads when we were in Normandy. Nonetheless Ms. Garmin always got us where we wanted to go.
We used our portable Garmin for Normandy and surrounding area and found it to be extremely useful! Downloaded the maps (in English) from the states, and I'd never go without it again.
I echo the earlier post about the Garmin sending you on very direct routes. I learned the hard way to always have a map also and ignore the directions that seem to take you off main roads onto very tiny roads.
My experience agrees with the other posts. I would add that changing Navigation preference to "Shortest Time" from "Shortest Route" might help slightly. This doesn't apply so much to France, but in the Netherlands I found it important to Enable the Avoidance of Ferries. You say you have a Nuvi 50. Doesn't that come only with US/Puerto Rico maps? I would worry that even if you are allowed to buy the Europe maps, there may not be sufficient onboard memory to get Europe. I have some older Garmins that came with Europe Maps but over a few years, the databases have become too large to load all of Europe at once. So I have to choose the most likely countries, using a utility instead of the automatic s. Cumbersome and annoying. I am beginning to think that Garmins (and all the others) are disposable gadgets, instead of permanent capital assets. Think about that when you order a Lifetime anything for your Garmin.
We love our Garmin...it is about 10 years old and still gets us all over France....better than the ones in the car we lease.We are photographers and have all these neat places marked and we still use our old one. Other than sometimes deciding to take us through someones vineyard the only problem is that every year there are more wonderful roundabouts that will not appear on some of the older models or even some of the newer ones.
I took along the chip with Europe maps for my Garmin and it worked great. It really helps if you are already familiar with how they work BEFORE you start driving around in a foreign country. They have lot's of options under "navigation preferences" where you can tell it to not take you onto toll roads so you can have a more scenic drive through small towns. Many models will give you a choice of fastest time or shortest route which may not be the same. You can also set "Via Points" if there is something you want to see along the way which might not be on the direct route. Roundabouts..... Circular intersections without traffic lights to keep traffic moving. I got used to judging the angle of the exit I wanted to take before entering and found it very easy. My wife would always count and be off by one. I use my GPS a lot at home because I am always having to find different job sites so I am very accustomed to it. Practicing with it in a familiar area helps to understand the nuances so when you arrive in a foreign country you have one less new thing to figure out.