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GPS advice/long-distance travel

mrmrmrmr Registered User regular
I've been kinda putting this off, but no longer. Long story short, I'm in a semi-long-distance relationship with a person, and we only see each other for the most part at big friend gatherings or the anime conventions we frequent. I am kind of a nervous driver, and my biggest fear in that regard is getting lost/getting in an accident far from home. I want to be able to drive down to her confidently, I guess, as it's been me bumming rides from friends until now.

So my question is if anyone can recommend a decent but less expensive kind of GPS system. Or alternatively a GPS-like app for Android, as I have a tablet I could conceivably use instead, although I dunno how those can compare with an actual GPS.

And on that note any tips or passing advice for driving long distances. I am relatively fine with freeway travel (more now than I used to be), but if anyone has any kind of pointers it'd be rad of you. This would be a 2.5-ish hour drive (the longest i've ever driven was around an hour down to a fair and then an hour back).

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Posts

  • dlinfinitidlinfiniti Registered User regular
    google maps is your friend

    AAAAA!!! PLAAAYGUUU!!!!
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited November 2012
    Google Navigation on Android works fantastically if you have an internet connection while travelling. It's a turn by turn app that is just as good as a commercial standalone GPS (if not arguably better). The kicker is needing the internet connection for all its features to work perfectly.

    Also I don't think most people would consider 2.5 hours long distance, but I could be wrong. Generally the main tip for driving any sort of distance is to make sure you're full on gas before you leave, make sure you have potential emergency supplies (snacks, water, blanket) just in case of a break down, and to at least look at your route a few times on a map (and maybe print it out from the computer using google maps) so in case your electronics fail you, you have a backup. If you feel uncomfortable, stop at rest areas for a bit and stretch your legs.

    As far as a standalone GPS goes, my parents have a Garmin that they like, it's one of the cheaper ones. It works pretty well for the most part.

    zerzhul on
  • HewnHewn Registered User regular
    I just tested out 3 GPS options for Android last weekend on a trip.

    Google Maps ONLY works if you save your map offline AND it only navigates if you start your trip with internet. We got it to work, but if you need to reroute, well... not ideal.
    The 2nd option was Navfree, and that was a little quirky. We never got it to work reliably.
    The 3rd option, Sygic, worked quite well. It loads the maps offline and even does navigation offline. This is was perfect for my wi-fi tablet. We navigated several locations around an unfamiliar city without any fuss. I noticed a lot of the complaints for Sygic were European related, so I can't speak of that, but it did perfectly well in Wisconsin. I only used the 7 day trial, but after my experience, I'd certainly pay for the full version. It was far easier to use than Maps and Navfree, and the offline functionality is great.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sygic.aura&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5zeWdpYy5hdXJhIl0.

    If you're going with GPS travel, make sure you get a mount and charger for your device. For reference, I used the Nexus 7 for these trials.

    And as a redundancy plan, it doesn't hurt to print directions via Google Maps. People navigated just fine before GPS using ol' fashion directions, so they still work pretty well as a backup.

    Steam: hewn
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  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    Yeah, cheapest option is print out or write down your Google Maps directions. If you may end up going to unexpected places in an unfamiliar city, a GPS would be handy, but if you're just going from one preplanned place to another, the old-fashioned way works fine.

    My wife and I got a pretty cheap Tom-Tom at Best Buy last year. It was still I think about $120, but it was significantly cheaper than almost all the other ones they have and it's worked great for us.

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  • LankyseanLankysean Registered User regular
    A 2 and a half hour drive isn't awful, I'd say anything over 4 hours starts to get on the hard side... I've personally driven 900miles in a day which was about 15 hours of mostly non-stop driving without many issues. Anyway, time for some advice. Pee before hand, even if you don't think you need to. Prepare some music to listen to, that or audiobooks if you're the type of person who can drive and focus on the story at the same time. Get yourself a snack of some kind. Make sure the snack is easy to eat... I can't tell you how many shirts I've ruined by spilling my overly complicated snack on myself. If you find yourself getting tired at all pull over, doing things like turning on the air conditioner and blasting music can only help so much. Perform all the automotive pre-road trip check; get the gas, make sure all the lights work, etc. I play a stupid game in my head which I find passes the time really well. I try and form an insult for the car in front of my using the letters in license plate as the first letter of a word in the insult. So like AL92-BJQ could be "Anorexic Losers! Blow Job Queens!" or something. It's totally immature but I have fun with it.

  • Mad JazzMad Jazz Registered User regular
    I used my phone and the google maps app for android when I moved cross country and for the time I lived in LA, it works pretty great. You can have it pull up the maps and just get directions, or you can have it do the speaking thing to direct you. As mentioned, you need an internet connection for it to work optimally, but if you have a smart phone that shouldn't be much of a problem. Also, Google maps uses the same map and route information that Garmin does (other way around, really), so it is literally exactly as good as having an expensive standalone gps from the map/navigation standpoint.

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  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    mrmr wrote: »
    And on that note any tips or passing advice for driving long distances. I am relatively fine with freeway travel (more now than I used to be), but if anyone has any kind of pointers it'd be rad of you. This would be a 2.5-ish hour drive (the longest i've ever driven was around an hour down to a fair and then an hour back).

    I can think of a few suggestions which might make it easier:

    Since you're not used to driving for extend periods then plan for rest stops. Not that you absolutely must do the stops but make sure you know the options on the route so taking a stop is easy - and also I'd suggest having a break

    When you make a stop walk around a little - it will refresh you.

    Also drive mid-day if possible to avoid heavy traffic and have daylight and make sure to be well rested beforehand.

    Missing a turn, taking a wrong turn or even getting lost happen to everyone. Just bring a map.
    Note. If you go for a GPS solution then bring an old fashioned one anyway - they always work and do give a better overview.

    Finally - I suspect that after the drive you'll fell it wasn't that bad. My own experience is that taking it easy and making sure not to be in a rush helped a lot when driving longer than usual. Millions of people do it everyday and city traffic is really much worse than the freeways.

    Bones heal, glory is forever.
  • PirusuPirusu Pierce Registered User regular
    BlindZen's advice is fantastic. And if you do go for a standalone GPS device,

    This Garmin has a nice, large, easy to read screen, and has a lifetime map updates subscription, so you don't have to worry about paying to make sure it's up-to-date.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Any GPS you can find will be good. I have a tom tom. GPS really shines when you get lost (if you're a nervous driver, GET ONE). Or, if there's construction. Doubly so if they have "construction avoidance" type software that helps you navigate around it.

    Ladies.
  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    If most of the 2.5 hours is freeway and you are nervous about the monotony of the driving, I'd recommend getting a blutooth headset for your phone and have a nice conversation with someone along the way.

    Also, all the advice from above is great too.

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  • Pure DinPure Din Boston-areaRegistered User regular
    Missing a turn, taking a wrong turn or even getting lost happen to everyone. Just bring a map.

    To expand on this tip, if you miss an exit or a turn, do not swerve to get into the correct lane, just go to the next exit and turn around there. And if you're feeling lost or stressed out it is better to pull over and get your bearings than to drive around with only part of your attention on the road. People will understand if you're running late, being safe should always be the top priority.

  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    Pure Din wrote: »
    Missing a turn, taking a wrong turn or even getting lost happen to everyone. Just bring a map.

    To expand on this tip, if you miss an exit or a turn, do not swerve to get into the correct lane, just go to the next exit and turn around there.

    If this doesn't work, you're in an east coast city and probably have internet access.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    Ih terms of being stressed when you're lost: Keep this in mind, you're never REALLY lost, as long as you haven't somehow ended up Thailand. You've just lost your way a little bit. A quick stop at a gas station to ask an attendant, or a quick glance at a map, should get you sorted post haste.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
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