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GPS for UK travel....where to rent/borrow?

Hi all, I have concluded through various postings that it would be wise of me to get a GPS unit for my trip this June/July to England, Scotland, and Ireland. (We will be renting cars throughout). I don't want to buy a GPS as I will not need it after the trip (and currently I am not planning a return trip for a few years). I looked into renting one with the car but it was outrageous. I then looked into renting one via an independent company....and again the cost is almost the same as buying one. So here's the question: Is there a group of travelers out there who trade/swap/borrow equipment for a reasonable fee? I live in a small town, in the middle of no where....and no one has GPS out here except the hand held kind for Geocaching. Help!
Tara :-)

Posted by
18 posts

Ken, We will be renting 2 different cars (one in England for a total of 8 days and one in Ireland for 5 days). When I added in the cost of the GPS (including the charges associated with it) it was easily over $250. And I know you can get a Garmin Nuvi 250 for about that price. I am trying to be as economical as possible.

Posted by
9363 posts

You still might be better off buying one even if you don't plan to go back to Europe again soon. I don't use mine around town, but if I have to go to a city I'm unfamiliar with I always use it. Consider it part of the cost of the trip.

Posted by
842 posts

...and make sure that the one you buy comes with the maps of Europe.

(You will not regret buying a GPS! We loved using our TomTom 920 in Germany and Portugal last more marital discord arguing over the map, directions, and "where in the heck are we now?!)

Posted by
505 posts


If you get a GPS, always check the route on an up to date map before setting out.

Never have blind trust in the GPS because the GPS companies are renowned for not updating their maps to account for new/closed roads or mapping routes which are impossible. Some villages in England have constant problems with trucks getting stuck in turns or narrow roads because the truckers follow GPS directions blindly.

Especially in rural areas, roads may wash out/be close or look like roads on the map, but be tracks really only appropriate for locals.

A good resource is BBC online, which has fairly accurate roadwork and road closure listings in their local sections.


Posted by
31465 posts


One point regarding the Garmin Nuvi 250 that you mentioned. That model doesn't include European maps, AFAIK. You would need to buy the Nuvi x70 series units, which are considerably higher cost. I don't believe there's any advantage to buying a 250 and updating the maps to include Europe, as the cost is the same (or higher).

Considering that a GPS is also useful for driving "at home" in unfamiliar neighborhoods, it might be a good thing to consider. I used a Nuvi 370 on my last trip to the U.K., and it worked well (although I found that one still has to "double check" the directions, as the unit seemed to get "confused" at times). Always a good idea to have a Michelin map as "backup"! However, it really helped me a couple of times also, when I got off on the wrong exit.


Posted by
505 posts

Based on what I know about my parents' GPS, you should be able to buy software providing European maps for just about any model. It's hard to believe that a company would want to limit the use of GPS to one continent or the other!

When in doubt, you should e-mail the company.

Posted by
934 posts

I believe the biggest advantage of buying your own before you leave rather then renting one is the opportunity to get to use it.My first time with a GPS in Germany it took a while to learn how to use the GPS that came with the car.My next trip I used the one my children bought me for christmas.It was much easier as I used it at home for a year.

Posted by
9 posts

Tara Buying a GPS is about the same as renting but if you buy one in the US you will need to buy a European map, and that cost almost as much as the GPS unit. The advantage of buying is you can become familar with operating and the features avalible. If you buy one you could sell it on ebay after retuning from your trip. If you have not used one before you may find you don't want to give it up after coming home. I rented a car in Germany with one built in and the Garmin Street Pilot I left at home was much better and esaier to use.