Friday, March 21, 2008

Navigating Spring Break Road Trips with GPS Directions

Tech Expert Segment for 21 March 2008

Heading off for that Spring Break road trip? Before you go, pick up a new GPS navigation system for your car. In addition to providing turn-by-turn directions to get you to your destination -- newer models have traffic details and even gas prices.

The first decision in buying a GPS is what type you're looking for -- but chances you'll fall into the portable navigation category. These sleek units are about the size of a portable music player and have a full-color screen that sits on your dash. The obvious benefit is being able to take it from car car, great for multi-car families or getting around in a rental in a strange city.

Two popular makers in the GPS navigation space are Garmin and TomTom. Both have regularly updated maps (highlighting changes in streets, new routes, and street names) and a variety of models to suit any price range. They start at just a couple hundred bucks for a basic portable and can cost thousands for custom built-in upgrades.

Regardless of which system you buy, you'll want to keep it updated. Usually once a year or so the map makers publish updates. Newer models will update when you connect to a computer, some older models require expensive extra memory cards to load the new maps.

So go ahead, take that road trip... just grab a GPS navigation gadget on your way out of town. You'll never get lost again.

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