Top 12 GPS travel tips when on the go overseas

Parlez-vous Anglais?

If you are working on your language skills you can elect to hear your instructions in the language of the country you are in. This is a sure way to get in the travelling mood.

Don't run out of juice

All GPS models will need to be recharged -- be sure to pack a universal adapter in your luggage. Battery life of GPS devices vary, so it is important to have a cigarette lighter charger as you do not want to run out of juice when you are on the road driving.

It is useful to buy a case to protect the GPS and a travel charger with overseas plugs to keep the device powered up when you get back to your accommodation.

Theft alert

Do not leave your GPS device in the car when you are not there. Theft is on the rise in many countries, and even leaving the window screen mount in view is also an advertisement that a GPS device may be in the car. It's also a good idea to take out insurance for your device, in case it does get stolen from your vehicle or luggage.

Safe driving

Ensure you have the audio guidance on when driving as you can keep your eyes on the road and be more attentive while driving in a foreign city.

Don't ever underestimate using your own commonsense when using a GPS device. Sometimes conditions may change since the mapping was developed -- for example, road works start, or two-way streets become one way.

If the GPS tells you to turn right at a street with a no right turn, don't turn right. Proceed along, and the GPS will simply recalculate a new route to your original destination.

Overseas information

Many foreign countries provide traffic information that the GPS uses to determine most efficient routes. In almost all cases, you will need an additional device usually in the form of a cradle designed to receive the traffic information to make this work. It's a good idea to visit the manufacturer's overseas Web sites for more information.

Some GPS devices also contain useful travel advice which can be very helpful if you are unfamiliar with road rules in other countries. For example, TomTom's Help me! Menu contains guides for 24 countries and covers local road rules, public holidays, accommodation advice and more.

Stop and revive

You had enough with driving and need a break? You can always stop at a rest area and watch a movie on your GPS or have a look at your latest photos. Don't forget to store your movies and photos on your SD card. Remember it is illegal to watch movies and drive at the same time.

Strong signals

If you find that your GPS signal isn't as strong as you expect, keep these points in mind when using the device.

The GPS antenna is placed under the numeric keypad of the device. For best reception, open the keypad and try not to cover it with your hand.

GPS devices work best under a clear sky. The satellite signal can be easily blocked by roofs, or even tall buildings nearby. Plus the satellite signal is affected by the air it travels through, so the weather conditions including rain, clouds or fog may make GPS reception very difficult.

Connecting with GPS satellites takes at least 40 seconds, so be patient. The same applies to stand-alone GPS devices. And remember it can take longer on your first set-up (and when you change countries)

Pack light

We all love to minimise our travel accessories. Some GPS models come with a 2Mp camera, as well as phone and PDA capabilities. Some premium GPS units double up as MP3 players enabling you to leave behind your digital music player.

So one device solves three needs and makes for lighter packing and easier functionality between devices. It also allows you to identify points of interest, and call through direct if appropriate.

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