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Nifty Ways to Use Your GPS System on Road Trips

It wasn’t too long ago that your family would take the traditional road trip and your dad would be attempting to drive while peering over a large map. He was lost, had too much pride to stop and ask for directions, and your holiday was hampered as a result.

Today, road trips have been forever changed by GPS navigation systems. These slick computer systems can get you from point A to point B, offering the quickest directions. Have a detour? No problem. Your GPS will automatically create a new route…and family road trips can be fun again.

While you’re probably familiar with punching in the address to where you want to go on your GPS, there are a bevy of new features that are being released on many of the new GPS systems today, allowing users to truly get the most out of their GPS navigation system.

Set Your Home

Most GPS systems have a “Take Me Home” feature, which allows the user to simply click home and receive directions back to their home address. The only problem is, most of the time this feature is hidden. You’re never asked for your home address right in the beginning.

Search your instruction manual and figure out how to input your home address. The next time you’re in an unfamiliar place and need to get home, you’re only one button away.

NOTE: If your car is ever stolen, you don’t want to give the car thief directions to your front door. Therefore, instead of programming your exact address as “home,” just program the address of a landmark in your neighborhood.
Need Gas? Food? A Hotel?
Before GPS systems became more sophisticated, you either called information for the closest gas station or asked around. Today, GPS systems are a one-stop shop.

Use the “Point of Interests” feature on your GPS to find the closest gas station, hotel or restaurant. Some of the better GPS systems will give you the actual name of the restaurant in their directory and include the phone number so you can call and make a reservation if need be…and there are even a couple of systems that will show you reviews so you can see which restaurants are worth going to and which aren’t.

And if you’re ever low on petrol, this feature will also point you to the closest service station.
 Avoid Heavy Traffic
Did you know that most new GPS systems actually offer live traffic updates? There’s no more wondering how backed up the highway is or if the turnpike construction is completed.

Live traffic updates allow you to avoid those busy areas and save a significant amount of time. Of course, theres’s a catch: these systems are usually only available in major metropolitan areas, and many of them carry a monthly service fee.

Still, if the prospect of getting stuck in traffic gets your blood boiling, a monthly service fee is a small price to pay.

Author Taylor Ritchie feels lost without a good navigation system. Taylor relies on NRMA gps sat nav for directions and other nifty features such as avoiding heavy traffic.