It seems strange to think there was once a time when, if you were going on a long journey, you would have to enter your destination into AA Route Planner and print yourself off a map with step-by-step directions.
These days we have sat navs. Wonderful little machines that tell us exactly how to get to our chosen location with the help of a screen that shows you when turnings are coming up ahead and a cheerful voice that chimes you have reached your destination when you come to the end of your journey.
However, as with lots of things in life, buying a sat nav or GPS system as they’re sometimes called isn’t as straight forward as you might think and there are some things you need to take into consideration. A quick search online will show you there are hundreds of different products to choose from, which doesn’t exactly make choosing the right one for you a walk in the park.
So, here’s a quick guide with some advice on choosing a great sat nav.
For a start, you need to decide how much mapping data you want your sat nav to include. Many will only provide UK street level mapping, which covers all roads in the UK, however some go a step further and offer information for different countries around the world. The different areas sat navs usually cover are:
Western Europe (usually 23/24 countries)
Europe (45 countries)
The world (66 countries including places in North and South America, Europe, and Australasia)
European major roads (motorways and major roads in the specified countries)
European street level mapping (all roads, both major and minor, in the specified countries)
When buying your sat nav you will need to look at these options and decide which is best for you if you’re a keen traveller and often hire a car when abroad, then consider buying a machine with overseas mapping as it’ll save you money on hiring one.
A lot of sat navs offer up to date traffic information. This can prove invaluable if you’re going on a long journey, particularly if it’s a route you don’t really know and therefore don’t have any prior knowledge about on-going road works. The last thing you want on a long journey is to be stuck in a traffic jam and this tool can help you avoid this problem, so is well worth considering.
This is a very useful little feature that provides images that guide you into the right lane when you reach a junction. This is really handy when you’re travelling through a busy town or city and are unfamiliar with its streets.
This is an important issue as obviously you’ll have a budget when it comes to buying a sat nav. The problem is, you do get what you pay for. If you want a slightly larger screen so you can see maps clearly when you’re driving, you’ll have to pay more. Similarly, adding foreign maps or travel information will also push up the price. Check the product specification carefully and ensure you have a clear idea of exactly what you want from your sat nav.
As you can see, sat navs offer lots of different features, but these are some of the main things you should look out for and if you buy a sat nav with all of these, you can’t go far wrong.