Top 12 GPS travel tips when on the go overseas

They may be marketed as relationship savers -- and depending on who does the navigating when you are on holidays -- this may be correct. But a GPS not only gets you from A to B with the minimum of hassles, it can also make your holiday come alive; with ways to plan your itinerary, track down the best restaurants, and make your holiday hassle free. We asked our experts from Hitachi, Nokia, Mio, TomTom, and Pioneer to share their secrets on getting more out of your GPS while travelling the globe.

Get the right maps

No doubt if you are heading overseas, it's best to do your research and check that the GPS brand that you are considering has maps available for the countries that you will be travelling to.

Plus check out the price of the overseas map you wish to purchase as map prices vary considerably depending on the GPS you purchase.

Once you have your GPS, make sure you have the correct mapping for the country you are visiting. Check that you can navigate between countries where applicable. Maps can come as a combined pack or individual countries depending on the brand you purchase. Remember overseas mapping has to be the same brand as the device you are going to use, and not all mapping is configured in the same way.

It's important to note that if the provider does not have the mapping of the country you want, you can not use another brand's on your device, so best to do your homework before you buy.

When you get off the plane, it will take a little while for the handset/satellites to realise you aren't in Australia any more, so be prepared for a little wait.

Some GPS providers also have City Guides you can download -- for a fee. But they do provide lots of useful tourist information on the city of your destination. If you are downloading these while overseas it's best to use Wi-Fi as it will be less expensive.

Route ready

Ensure that you install the maps prior to travel. This will enable you to browse and test the maps prior to embarking on your trip. The GPS may navigate you to use motorways, toll roads or even ferries in foreign countries. Make sure you are familiar with the route calculation settings of your device. Also check the route the unit is suggesting prior to driving to ensure you know what you are getting yourself into.

What do you want to see?

Points of Interests (POI) are handy when in new towns or cities if you need petrol or any other info including tourist points. You can check that in the listings prior to leaving to get accustomed to what is and is not listed.

Plus if you surf through the Points of Interest, they can provide you with ideas of things to do and see, from beaches to cafes, shops to amusement parks etc in the places you plan to visit.

If you have a set itinerary, you may save all your points of interest (POIs) including accommodation, restaurants and tourist sites on your GPS for quicker navigation. With many GPS devices it can easily do this using your computer.

When navigating to a place, it may be easier to search for a place by name rather than address. For example if you wish to visit the British Museum in London you can find it listed under museums as a point of interest and be able to navigate there without knowing the exact address.

Walk or drive

GPS is great for in-car use but just as useful when on foot plus it's a great way to get around a foreign city too.

If you do not know where you wish to stay or dine in a particular place -- your GPS will be able to provide the location of the nearest restaurants, hotels and tourist sites. Many POI listings also contain phone listings making it very easy to call ahead and make a booking.

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GoodGearGuide Staff

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