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Hire car USA - don't want to pay $14 a day for GPS. Also top-up car insurance...

(23 Posts)
BreakfastCricket Mon 22-Apr-13 15:38:50

We're using Avios points towards hiring a car in the US this summer. This is great because it's only costing £155 for 16 days. Has anyone successfully used their iPhone or iPad in their hire car to help with sat nav? Or the other option is to buy a GPS system in Walmart for $100. Just interested to know what others do... or are thinking of...

Was also thinking of buying a car insurance policy top up for the USA before we leave. Anyone got any recommendations, please?

SoupDragon Mon 22-Apr-13 15:41:22

Does using an iPhone/iPad use up data allowance?

specialsubject Mon 22-Apr-13 16:01:42

can't recommend a company, but buy all your insurance here, it will cost you a lot more if you wait until you get to the States.

map books are cheap in the States. And in the UK now!

rubyflipper Mon 22-Apr-13 16:04:48

Buy the sat nav and flog it on eBay when you get back?

BreakfastCricket Mon 22-Apr-13 16:23:13

Ruby I've been tracking prices both on ebay UK and eBay USA for the last fortnight or so for GPS and they seem to hold their value quite well so this is definitely an option. I'm fortunate enough to have a friend who's over in Kentucky just now who has offered to visit Walmart and bring one home. For the last week or so that's been my favourite option.

However I want to check out the iPad idea as that would be even easier and cheaper but as Soup suggests I need to find out the specifics.

And as Special confirms I thought I read somewhere that buying here was considerably cheaper. The figure £60 come to mind.

SilasGreenback Mon 22-Apr-13 16:32:23

Can you borrow a SatNav from someone? We have an one we never use because all the cars have built in ones. We only keep it for taking on holiday by us or friends/family.

Or just buy a map - that's what we did on trips to the states pre SatNav invention. It was always quite easy as the roads are clearly sign posted.

BreakfastCricket Mon 22-Apr-13 16:38:00

Silas I've always been happy to read a map but my eyesight has got to that icky stage where when we're moving I can't follow the small print any more!

ChippyMinton Mon 22-Apr-13 16:41:54

Buy satnav in Walmart - they might have a deal instore that's not on the website. If you get Garmin, you can buy and download european mapping when you get back for about £35 (I think -prices may have gone up since I did this a couple of years ago).

SilasGreenback Mon 22-Apr-13 17:11:22

Ah yes - I've just had to get reading glasses so I can relate to that!

Do you have dc you could train up as navigators. Mine are quite good now they can read (I once tried with a bright 3 year old - it did not end well!)

BreakfastCricket Mon 22-Apr-13 17:26:40

Silas We have a Duke of Edinburgh Silver participant so will try that as back up!

Bright three year olds shouldn't be underestimated. At that age mine were expert video technicians but it never occured to me to deploy them in other tasks. I missed a trick. Very impressed by your ingenuity and early delegation.

BreakfastCricket Tue 23-Apr-13 12:39:33

Checked out car hire excess insurance and for 16 days it is cheaper in some instances to get an annual policy. Have seen various annual policies at £49, £59 and £79 so will probably compare what's covered and try to go with something near the £49 end.

Have decided that we will try our IPad with a free app for the first few days and if it doesn't work then we'll head for the nearest GPS discount electronic store and buy a Garmin or Tom Tom and then ebay it on our return.

For the initial journey between car rental pick up and our accommodation I will print off directions and bring them with me.

Still interested to hear of any iPad sat nav experiences though as I'm not sure which app to download...

livvyliv Sun 28-Apr-13 16:26:24

There are sat nav hire companies in uk.weve been to USA a couple of times and have just rented a sat nav which is delivered to your door..there not expensive to hire and think you can get for any country

BreakfastCricket Sun 28-Apr-13 18:00:56

livvyliv you are clever. Just worked out that we can hire one for £40 just as you suggest. There might even be other companies so I can get the price down. That's a definite contender. Thank you. Please feel free to offer any more tips.

Have just hired our car and we're getting a Ford Kuga/ Escape for £10 a day so £160.

clam Sun 28-Apr-13 20:03:13

We had this dilemma last summer. Couldn't face paying the exhorbitant satnav hire fee. We printed off a few relevant maps before we went, but ds bought his ipad over there (birthday present and they're slightly cheaper out there) and every now and then he'd pipe up with sat nav directions. No idea how - maybe it was when we passed through a free wifi area. Wasn't often enough to be reliable however.

BreakfastCricket Mon 08-Jul-13 12:15:31

Just back. In the end we were like Clam and did not use a GPS - I left it too late to hire and anyway we thought we would try our luck with the IPad before shelling out.

Well the iPad was super although having hard copies of printed maps was also essential. We just used google maps and weren't reliant on any apps.

Turned out my 16-year-old was a whizz navigator and very competently gave directions from the back.

carlajean Tue 09-Jul-13 19:56:10

we have just driven 2,500 miles in the USA without sat nav and can't say we missed it. what is useful is that hire cars have a compass as part of the dashboard.
have you got CWD sorted out? You should have this, and many of the cheaper companies will not include it in their price.
We hired through Alamo, and when we went to pick the car up at Denver Airport they tried to take advantage of our being jet lagged to sell us extra accidental cover. Also, car hire companies will always waste time trying to get you to hire a larger car than you had planned.

BiddyPop Tue 16-Jul-13 12:14:54

We are just back and DH used SatFree on the Nexus rather than hire SatNav (or buy the maps for our own). It worked very well, and she was less annoying than the Sat Nav we have here.

sweetestcup Wed 17-Jul-13 00:14:11

We have bought one off Ebay from someone who hires them out for America, he has also very nicely programmed all of our hotels into it!

Sally14 Mon 29-Jul-13 07:40:36

Hi, I'm currently backpacking around the USA with my three year old and writing a blog about what were discovering on the way I brought my Tom Tom from England with me and uploaded the USA maps onto it. It cost me £30 and I've used it loads and it works fine. Car hire companies charge way too much for these kind of things.

sunnyshine Mon 29-Jul-13 08:01:49

There's uk companies that hire sat nav for the USA . We have used them twice with no problems. They send it to your uk address and you send back when you get home.

mumblechum1 Mon 29-Jul-13 08:05:52

We're just going to use some sort of GPS app on the iphone. $14 a day Satnav hire for 3 weeks racks up, and we won't necessarily be doing that much driving (California).

Not entirely confident it's going to work, so may still end up killing each other grin

sleepdodger Mon 29-Jul-13 08:12:49

Where will you be driving?
We drove alot last year and it was v helpful to have satnav to get to and from the hire place as they're always in obscure location but otherwise coup have probably managed without if was going to have been expensive- we'd said no to it but on collecting the car were asked if we wanted one and got to something like a dollar a day
Posh cars have them built in sometimes too

loveacuppacha Tue 30-Jul-13 16:08:51

If you use your iphone as normal it will cost an arm and a leg as every time the map refreshes you are eating up data. I think you can buy a dedicated SatNav app which store the data on your phone so don't use roaming but they tend to be quite expensive. Although I guess you can use it over and over again so probably cheaper long term than hiring a SatNav.

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