GPS technology has changed the way we travel. While exciting, traveling and exploring foreign countries can be stressful. Everything is unfamiliar. You may not be able to read the road signs or speak the language well enough to understand directions. A GPS loaded with area-specific maps helps you to enjoy your travels with peace of mind. In order to take full advantage of GPS benefits, it is essential to take the time to prepare both the GPS and yourself before your adventure begins.
Learn Your System
One of the first mistakes people make when using a GPS system is taking it out of the box as they begin their journey. If you do this, you may find that there is a learning curve to most GPS systems. They each work in slightly different ways. While new technology often excites us to the point that we just want to go, it is important to slow down and read the manual. At least give it a quick flip through so that you understand the functions of the system. After you understand the basic functions of the system, you will want to explore how it actually works. Take a road trip as a passenger. Set up a route that you travel routinely and pay attention to how the system actually functions in real life.
Experiment with setting benchmarks, orientating yourself and what happens if you need to re-route. If you plan on using the GPS for walking around cities or exploring nature areas, place yourself in those situations on a small scale. Walk around your home town with the device. Take a small hike. Actually using the GPS in a real situation will prevent stress when in an unfamiliar place. You will know exactly how to read and use your device when you need it the most.
Prepare your GPS
Download the maps for your travel with plenty of time to review them and ensure that they give you the necessary information for the area you are exploring. Compare the generated routes to physical maps to ensure that they are routing properly. Take a test run at finding specific addresses, locations and POI’s.
Remember the Power
Power can be a problem when traversing rural areas by GPS. Be prepared by making sure that you have more power than necessary – in case you become lost or change your travel plans. Make sure you have extra battery power, universal adapters, solar chargers or other power systems. If you are relying on a GPS, you don’t want to have it run out of power just when you need it most.
Considerations for GPS Travel
Be smart when traveling with a GPS. Avoid leaving the device exposed in your vehicle. It could easily be stolen, taking your route with you. Carry a physical map with you, just in case. While it may not be as detailed or updated as your GPS maps, it could help you navigate in an emergency. Keep in mind that wondering around a city while blatantly using a GPS can target you immediately as a tourist or lost. Many GPS devices allow you to use ear buds to listen to directions, allowing you to keep the device in your pocket. This can also free up your hands.
Taking the time to understand your GPS and prepare the device helps prevent the stress that often comes from travel situations, leaving you able to enjoy every minute of your adventure.