What are the best travel GPS units in 2020?
If you’re particularly short on time to read information about the best travel GPS on the market, this short paragraph should provide everything you need to know. We have gone over plenty of actual user feedback to check how well the products touted as the best GPS for sale can do against the competition. Thanks to the meticulous research and product comparisons, we have been able to find what consumers consider the best one in this category, the Garmin Nuvi 57LM. The dual-orientation display of this easy-to-use dedicated GPS navigator enables you to view information on the screen in either a horizontal or a vertical alignment for comfortable reading. The 5-inch display is large enough for the effortless reading of the preloaded detailed maps of the lower 49 US states. The purchase of this model entitles you to free lifetime map updates so you never travel with a map that does not have the right information, which is critical considering that new roads are constantly being built and dozens more being renamed with time. The Garmin Real Directions guide you like a friend by employing the landmarks and traffic lights so you can make timely direction changes and not be caught moving round and round in unfamiliar territory. Because there is a high likelihood that the Garmin Nuvi 57LM would be out of stock because of its popularity, we definitely recommend the second best option, the Garmin Nuvi 2589LMT.
Our Top Choice
The GPS is available in three screen sizes, according to your needs. It also features Bluetooth connection and voice control for easy navigation even when you cannot take your hands off the wheel. By purchasing this product you’ll get free lifetime access to updated maps and traffic alerts so you can reach your destination in the shortest time. You can also search for restaurants or parks.
The unit is complex and provides a wide array of functions, so you should expect some of them not to work properly or to lag sometimes.
Ready to install in no time, the product represents a good choice for those looking for a long trip.
The product provides lifetime access to updated maps and traffic alerts, so you can always find the most convenient route to your destination. It is compatible with various backup cameras, while the Garmin Real Directions guides you with the help of traffic lights and landmarks through all the difficult parts of the road. Direct Access is designed to simplify navigation.
Some people said the screen is very reflective, which may bother your eyes in certain light conditions. Position it accordingly.
The 5-inch touchscreen is perfect for vehicles of all sizes, including trucks and RVs.
Also To Consider
The unit is available in two sizes: 4 inches and 5 inches. The touchscreen display is easy to use and the product has a battery autonomy of up to 3 hours of continuous use. You’ll have access to lifetime map updates without other additional costs. The expansive map coverage includes pre-installed routes to Canada and Mexico, so you can easily reach your holiday destination.
Some of the customers who purchased this GPS unit weren’t pleased with the response time, saying it tends to lag often enough.
Lightweight and compact, this product is easy to mount and it represents the perfect road partner.
A short buying guide
In this day and age, there’s simply no excuse for getting lost even in unfamiliar places thanks to the continued popularity of GPS devices. Whether you are on the road or in the water, there’s a host of GPS devices to choose from. What differentiates a good travel GPS from a lousy navigation device?
The best GPS for travel keeps track of traffic
Real-time traffic information is highly valuable for people who prefer to keep a routine on routes they take on their errands or commute. A navigation system should enable you to avoid accidents, road closures, as well as speed traps.
It is to be noted, however, that although portable GPS units offer greater functionality with traffic reporting, the technology has not been perfected yet. This means traffic reporting can either be inaccurate or slow and not real-time. Real-time traffic is offered by phone apps that provide a peek into images gathered by traffic cameras, which also enable you to get crowd-sourced tips on bottlenecks and detours.
The products that get highly rated in the best travel GPS reviews offer a dependable performance
In order to get the best availability and timeliness of any map updates, you want the GPS unit to feature a high-sensitivity receiver to ensure the device actually knows what road you are on. While plenty of travel GPS devices provide audible or spoken directions, they are not all created equal. Some models are equipped with text-to-speech technology, which enables the device to read out actual street names and which is great when you are traveling in an unfamiliar location. Some units issue unintelligible directions so you can barely hear what is being said.
Aside from traffic updates, you might want to enjoy such nifty features as active lane assist/guidance, 3D map view, points of interest, and junction view. Find out if the device comes with lifetime map updates and if they are free or available for a recurring fee. You wouldn’t want to be saddled with heavy fees for map updates considering the expected lifetime of the device.
Navigation should be easy with the device. You should be able to input the destination or say it out loud and the device should issue the most helpful directions. You want a fast, intuitive, and smart interface.
You want a good combination of stamina and size in the best GPS for road trips
The battery should be able to hold a charge for at least two hours, which is very important for travel.
An overly small screen can make it difficult to make out map details and other critical information on it. That said, if you’d like to bring the device in your suitcase, a handheld model is your best option. You may go for a unit with a 4.7-inch screen, although a 4-inch display is a good compromise.
3 Best Travel GPSes (Updated Reviews) in 2020
It is not quite easy to find the best travel GPS for sale but the above buying guide should have enough useful information for the earnest buyer. We may not be electronics experts but consumers have found the following products to be top choices and we can’t help but agree.
1. Garmin Nuvi 57LM
The Garmin Nuvi 57LM is an easy-to-use, dedicated GPS navigator that will make every road travel less stressful. The device features a five-inch display that lets you see any critical information easily. The screen can also be made to display the information in a portrait or landscape orientation to guarantee a comfortable viewing according to your needs.
This GPS device comes preloaded with detailed maps of the lower 48 states. What is even more exciting is how the buyer is entitled to receive free lifetime map updates so the cartographic data is always fresh and functional, with less likelihood of having outdated data that is useless and exasperating.
The exclusive Garmin Real Directions help you find the right destination thanks to how the unit guides you like a friend using traffic lights and landmarks. What’s more, you can find new and popular restaurants, shops, and more utilizing valuable Foursquare data. With the Direct Access feature, navigation is greatly simplified so you can find your way to select complex destinations such as airports and malls.
The Up Ahead feature allows you to find places easily, such as food and gas stations, without leaving the map. The Lane Assist with Junction View shows you upcoming junctions and employs brightly-colored arrows to show the proper lane.
This Garmin model offers good user interface, with a 5-inch screen to ensure that maps and words will be legible enough and a dual mode portrait or landscape orientation to fit the user’s preferred perspective.
It comes with a Real Directions feature, which uses landmarks and stoplights to provide directions, in the same intuitive way a human would.
The Foursquare and Up Ahead functions allow the user to search for potential objects of interest or utilities nearby, such as restaurants, shops, gas stations. Foursquare deals with a whole general area, while Up Ahead only provides data for places on route.
The Lane Assist and Junction View functions are meant to improve the user’s situational awareness when confronted with complex intersections and multi-lane roads.
Some users found the Base Camp software hard to work with. Given the product’s high complexity, it is to be expected that some functions might not work perfectly.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($189.99)
2. Garmin Nuvi 2589LMT
With its 5-inch, pinch-to-zoom display, the Garmin Nuvi 2589LMT simplifies guided navigation for the modern traveler. The dual-orientation display allows you to view the display in either a portrait or landscape configuration to best suit your needs or preference. This ensures a comfortable means of viewing the information on the screen.
The detailed maps of North America enable you to navigate your way worry-free during travels or out-of-town trips. This device comes with free lifetime map updates so the cartographical information is fresh and not outdated or useless. The traffic avoidance feature is highly useful for those who tend to follow a specific route during their daily commute.
Guided by Foursquare data, you can easily find new and popular restaurants, shops, and other commercial establishments so you are never out of the circuit. This device leverages Bluetooth technology to facilitate hands-free calling. You won’t have to reach for your phone when a call comes in or when you need to call someone since the GPS device can be used as your dial pad.
Thanks to the state-of-the-art voice navigation software, this device lets you simply tell it what you want to find so you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. You also get Free Lifetime Traffic Avoidance with the driving map kept onscreen at all times, with spoken messages and traffic alerts to the side of the map.
It has very friendly, easy to read graphics on a relatively large 5 inch, pinch to zoom display. You can select between two viewing modes, portrait and landscapes, for the most comfortable user experience.
It comes straight out of the box with detailed maps covering all the 48 lower states, so you won’t need any expensive updates in order to enjoy a round the country trip.
Garmin also offers a limited number of free lifetime map updates, allowing the user to keep more or less up to speed with the latest changes in the road network without having to pay extra.
Probably the most interesting money-saving feature is the free lifetime traffic avoidance, which provides the user with crowd sourced traffic information free of charge.
It also features common Garmin features such as Foursquare and Direct Access.
While highly appreciated for its large size, the screen seems to be very reflective. This could be solved with proper positioning, however.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($54.95)
3. TomTom VIA 1515M
Allowing you to explore a new way of navigation, the TomTom VIA 1515M is a cutting-edge travel tool that features Free Lifetime Map Updates for consistent functionality and dependable service. This GPS device has a five-inch screen that delivers a better and easier view every time, so you can find the information you need onscreen fast and easy.
This simple device ensures that every journey is safe, stress-free, and enjoyable so you can get to your destination with fewer hassles and more energy for exploration. The easy-to-use device comes with TomTom Lifetime Map Updates so your cartographic data is not stale. The IQ Routes and Map Share technology ensure that you stay updated with active road changes and closures.
The included maps cover the US, Canada, and Mexico so you can travel everywhere and not worry about finding your way around. You also receive 4 or more full, downloadable map updates every year, which covers just about any new road construction or renaming. The innovative Split Screen Junction View lets you look at two views simultaneously.
You also never miss an exit because, at a single glance, you have a view of road signs supplemented with arrows that show you the exit to go for. The bigger screen size provides enough resolution for clear views.
This TomTom model has a large 5-inch display and good graphics which allow you to easily tell what’s going on without having to concentrate on the monitor.
The travel time is calculated with input from a constantly updating crowdsourced data base. IQ Routes will help you get the latest travel times submitted by other users for the route you are considering.
A very welcomed ease of life feature, Advanced Lane Guidance gives accurate indications on the right lane to take when negotiating complex junctions.
Tom Tom offers unusually extensive map coverage, which includes most of the North American continent — the US, Canada, and Mexico. You also get four full free map updates a year to keep you up to date at a minimal cost.
Many users found its response time to be rather sluggish. However, this only seems to be a complaint with particularly aggressive drivers.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($88.99)