Don’t Forget to Pack Your Garmin.

June 1, 2007 at 2:55 pm 2 comments

Are you good with maps? Or do you need one of your girlfriends to navigate when you go on a trip? Are you chronically afraid of getting lost in a strange town?

It doesn’t matter which of the above fits your navigation skills. I’m going to recommend you get a Garmin. I’m good with maps. I manage to navigate just fine and arrive at my destination (sooner or later) no matter where I’m traveling. But this week I discovered that a Garmin StreetPilot will now be an indispensible item in my carry-on luggage.

What is a Garmin StreetPilot?
It’s a Global Positioning System (GPS) that guides you from one destination to another — absolutely effortlessly, almost mindlessly. It’s a satellite-based navigation system. But don’t let that scare you. Garmin’s StreetPilot is user-friendly. I never read the manual and barely paid attention as mywhere-to.jpg husband tried to explain his new gizmo to me. But it looked easy, intuitive. And it is. That’s why I asked him to lend it to me for my trip to Colorado Springs. With barely 3 minutes of instruction, I had it up and running the next day in my rental car as I headed to the mountains.

How It Works.
You plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter or power source, turn it on and begin the easy programming. The StreetPilot knows where you are, so you can simply enter an address on the touchpad screen and press “Go.” It will quickly calculate the route for you and display it in color, step by step on the screen. And, it will talk to you, telling you where to turn andpix-2.jpg how far to go on any given road. If you miss a turn or stop along the way, the StreetPilot automatically recalculates your trip and arrival time. Yes, it even gives you a pretty darn accurate arrival time.

Looking for a Restaurant, Airport, Gas Station?
Simply scan the standard categories until you find the one you want. Press it and the StreetPilot will give you a list of restaurants or whatever in your vicinity — and will provide pix.jpgyou a route to find the one you want. If you have a specific place to find, like a Starbucks for example, you just type in the name and it will give you a route to it.

We Never Needed a Map.
I packed several maps for our girlfriend getaway, but I never had to crack one open while enroute. The StreetPilot did all the work. And my friend, Sandy, became a GPS expert, too. In fact, she really loved taking charge of our routing and entering our destinations into the GPS. We just returned from Colorado Springs last night and I’ll bet she’s already bought one for herself. She loved it and knew her husband would, too.

We stayed about 10 miles beyond Manitou Springs, which is outside of Colorado Springs. Way into the mountain area, our accommodations were located on a somewhat remote dirt road. The StreetPilot reassured us that we were turning off the highway onto the right dirt road. It was great. On our last day, we had to drive from Divide, CO (where we were staying) to the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs. We just searched the hotel section, found the Broadmoor listed and pushed the “Go” button for a routing. That’s it. I started the car and just drove, following the verbal instructions from the StreetPilot. We arrived effortlessly — did I say mindlessly? — at Valet Parking at the Broadmoor’s front door. Then we easily re-programmed it to guide us to the Thrifty Car Rental Return at the airport.

Ladies, you’ll love it. You don’t need to be a techie of any sort. It will become indispensible tool for your travels.

NEXT: Rocky Mountain Highs

TIPS:
1) Some rental car companies also rent Garmin’s StreetPilot. You can try before you buy.

2) We used a Model c330 Garmin StreetPilot. Its full retail value is about $350. But ladies, don’t ever pay full retail. Shop around and also check the Internet. My husband got a whale of a deal online for a full GPS package that included a 3-footed friction mount for dashboards — can be easily moved from car to car. A friend of ours also got a good online deal for a refurbished StreetPilot. If you want to see one, you’ll find Garmin at major electronics and discount department stores.

3) This may sound like a commercial for Garmin, and it is, I guess. But not a paid commercial. Sandy and I both loved the product and whole-heartedly recommend it because of its value as a travel tool.

4) Midwest Airlines begins nonstop service to Colorado Springs on July 1. It’s a very easy airport to get in and out of and less than an hour from the Manitou Springs area where we stayed.

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Entry filed under: Colorado Springs.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dezertprincess  |  June 26, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    I’ve been thinking about getting one of these not just for when I travel, but also for just finding places around home. I was wondering though, once you purchase it, do you have to pay any sort of monthly fee, or is it just plunk down your payment and go?

    Reply
  • 2. tish  |  June 27, 2007 at 8:59 am

    Desertprincess–
    No monthly fee. All the maps and info is preloaded into this Garmin model. Once you buy it, that’s it.

    Thanks for reading my blog.

    Reply

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