The 3 Top GPS Devices for Travelers

A Garmin Nuvi GPS device is fixed at the front window of a car

GPS devices might sound old fashioned. But for serious travelers, they can be still very important. Here you find the three top devices.

Serious travelers need more than a smartphone

Travelers know how spotty cell phone reception can be and how valuable a dedicated GPS device is for serious traveling. Thanks to competition from smart phone apps, GPS devices are now more affordable than ever, and are often stocked with a whole range of fun features.

So, what is to consider when selecting your sat nav? You should look at the following: screen size, preloaded maps, the cost of additional maps, map updates and point-of-interest features.

Many GPS devices and smartphones on a wooden table

How to choose the right GPS device

The average screen size currently is about 5 inches, though you can get smaller ones for cheaper, and as wide as 7 inches. Keep in mind, however, that the devices can eat up valuable dashboard space. You should consider which countries come preloaded in your sat nav, as well as the price (if any) to upload additional countries and to update current countries. Some handheld navigational GPS devices provide unlimited free uploads and some charge. Finally, how your new device handles point-of-interest (POI) features should be considered. Does it use cellular radio to connect to the internet and offer the most current directions to local spots of interest like museums or shops? If that feature isn’t of particular interest to you, it might not matter at all.

Here you find the top 3 GPS devices:

The Garmin Nuvi navigates through the streets

The bestseller: Garmin Nuvi 57LM

Listed at a budget price, this GPS device is a bestseller for a good reason. You get preloaded maps depending on the country you purchase the device in, and Garmin promises free lifetime map updates. The audio and visual combination is exceptionally clear in the Nuvi, and it includes the Up Ahead feature, which alerts you to places of interest on the way to your destination.

A TomTom GPS device is fixed at the front window of a car

Most supportive: The TomTom Start 25

Similarly priced to the Nuvi, this is a 5-inch sat nav from another trusted and popular brand, TomTom. The Start 25 also comes with lifetime map updates, though it ships with an entire Western Europe, UK, and Ireland map. One fantastic feature is its parking assist, which helps you locate places to park. The integrated mount is also a plus, as it attaches easily to the dash or windscreen.


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Converted Sprinter from La Strada off-road
The Garmin DriveSmart 50 GPS device

For urban travelers: The Garmin DriveSmart 50

Another great option from Garmin, this sat nav uses digital radio signals to update traffic, a huge benefit if you’ll be doing extensive urban travel. Garmin GPS devices are noted for featuring real directions – like telling you to turn at a gas station – which is a natural, comfortable way to drive. This option also comes with the ever-popular 5-inch screen.

Thanks to standardized features and a mature market, choosing a GPS device for your travels is fairly straightforward. The three options we have listed are great places to start and will be invaluable assets as you discover and explore worldwide. Happy travels!

Text:Sally Perkins

Photos: Azfar Hakim via Visual Hunt / Chris Fleming via Visual Hunt / Francis Storr via Visual Hunt / Nick Grosoli via Visual Hunt / Garmin / Stockphotos