Owning a car GPS

Travelling efficiently with a car GPS

From our experience we find it very crucial to have a car GPS during self drive trip. It have made our trips very efficient as we could easily reach our destinations and had more time for sightseeing. The comfort of knowing that we would not be lost led us to travelling further and later into the night. We were able to sightsee (take photo) to our heart’s content as there was no urgency to reach our hotel early since we knew we did not need the daylight or the locals to help us located our hotel.

Rent or Buy a Car GPS?

Unfortunately renting a car GPS from the car rental company can come up to an substantial sum. An alternative to not having a car GPS will be to use Google map on a mobile phone that has a dataplan. Or to use HERE a mobile application which does not need a data plan with a  pre-loaded map.

Though the features of Google map and HERE have improved over the years, I still find a car GPS more reliable. But renting a car GPS could sometimes exceed the price of the unit.  Buying a GPS would be more cost efficient but the inconvenience of taking the time out to buy a GPS at the country of visit cancel out the saving.

Where are the maps?

Car GPS usually provides free lifetime local map and some system provides the space and features to install maps of other country at a cost. It was our plan to buy a Garmin car GPS the next time we visit a country in Europe so that we could get free lifetime Europe maps which I figured would be most worthwhile as they are many countries in Europe.

TomTom car GPS with world map

The “Garmin GPS” plan was abandoned when we found out that TomTom had introduced a series of car GPS with free lifetime world map. The models were Tomtom GO 510 (5 inch screen), Tomtom Go 610 (6 inch screen), Tomtom Go 5100 (5 inch screen with SIM card slot) and Tomtom Go 6100 (6 inch screen with SIM card slot). The models with data SIM card slot allowed the insertion of a Data Card for traffic monitoring tracking. The other two models which did not have a SIM card slot could be wifi to a mobile phone hotspot to track traffic condition.

After identifying our needs we bought the GO 610 at SGD$299 in Sept 2016. It came with preload Singapore and Malaysia Maps. I was able to register an account at the TomTom website and downloaded New Zealand map. Though it said the model came with World Wide lifetime free map, I was told by the seller that Korea, Japan and Taiwan were not included. I was okay with that because I had already visited all these three countries and it would not be soon before I would revisit them.

What I liked about the car GPS device was that I was able to login into my account and marked out all my target destinations on the laptop before synchronising these  destinations into the downloaded map on the car GPS device.

We brought the GPS device with us to New Zealand and had no problem mounting it on the dashboard of our rental car. The GPS navigation was great, the map was up to date, it navigated us to all our destinations precisely.

My new TomTom Go 610 with free lifetime worldwide maps!

My new TomTom Go 610 with free lifetime worldwide maps!

Where to buy

I bought my TomTom GPS device at a Computer and Electronic Fair and like most other products sold at the fair we were given a small discount. Besides the fairs TomTom GPS could be shopped online at TomTom website or general e-market website like QOO10. TomTom website offers a wide range of products whereas QOO10 had limited range but with discount vouchers for newly registered buyer the cost of the GPS product could be very attractive.