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American Sat Nav - Advice


gadgetgricey
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Can get Navmii on your phone with the maps stored on the device to avoid roaming charges. Got me around California a few years ago (and it's free), although I will admit a stand alone may be a better device. Doesn't come cheaper than free though.

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When I was in America last I just used my mobile phone and paid for a years TomTom app (£20 iirc). Downloaded the map in advance and bought a cheap cradle from the nearest Walmart. Bonus was that I signed my account into my wife's phone, so we had a backup phone in case my phone stopped working for whatever reason. Don't forget to buy a decent car phone charger too.

 

Unlike buying a second hand unit, the maps of course were fully up to date. I turned off roaming data to make 100% nothing was going to cause me pain.

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We've been using a shite Chinese generic satnav for a while, a bit like this:

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5-Inch-Car-SAT-GPS-Navigation-NAV-8GB-FM-Transmit-Video-Audio-Player-TF-MP3-ROM/183617952879

 

Used it (or similar - smashed the 1st one, bought another) for 10 years now. It's pretty basic/crude hardware and a bit* clunky by modern standards, but basically just works. All standalone, no ongoing fees, no apps, no expiring software, no network needed.

 

It runs WinCE & iGO mapping software. You get any iGO maps you want, all updated on regular basis as free downloads from a variety of gps/satnav forums (eg fixmygps.info). The only restriction you have for how many maps you can have at one time is the size of the SD card.

 

Used it with the free maps over the years in UK, Europe, Oz, NZ, US & Canada. No real problems, all for 25 quid.

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I'd be inclined to say Google Maps on your smartphone and pay for some roaming charges (check first).

 

Also, when I did a road trip in the US with no map or satnav (yeah I know, don't ask :D ), a compass really came in handy when you get lost. Most of their roads point roughly NSEW so if you don't have a map and you get lost or you're forced on a diversion, you can follow the compass and know what direction you need to follow.

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If your phone is unlocked, get a Three pay as you go SIM - they do an offer where £20 gets you 12Gb of data to use anywhere abroad for 30 days. Much cheaper than roaming, and will be fine for Waze or Google maps. Worth having maps.me as an offline backup, but it won't take traffic etc into account. You'll only get 3G though.

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I just went straight into the first big supermarket I found outside the airport in Kissimmee and bought a $40 Sat nav off the shelf. 

 

Sold it for about £40 on ebay when I got home to somebody who was going out there on business for a few weeks. 

 

I'd keep an eye on ebay for sat navs with US maps. There is always some on there. 

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1313.TR11.TRC1.A0.H0.Xsat+nav+usa.TRS0&_nkw=sat+nav+usa&_sacat=0

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Last time I was in the states we rented one with the car, it wasn't actually a satnav though but was a large-screen Samsung phone with an unlimited data allowance so we could just use google maps for directions, the added benefit being you could also use it as a wifi hotspot for everyone in the car, I also used it as my own camera/phone/internet device when my smartphone broke during the trip. Made sense because there were 5 of us travelling together for 3 weeks, it meant everyone could use their phones on the road, in hotels etc without any roaming costs. We could also use it to call back to the UK for free which was a bonus. Think it was about $20 a day though, but between 5 of us that was ok.

 

Data coverage was pretty much fine, we were driving through deserts in Nevada/Arizona/California and it would occasionally lose signal but never enough to cause us any problems. This was 5 years ago too so if anything it'll be better now.

 

The car was proper shite though, a GMC Terrain. Worst autobox in any car I've ever driven.

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