GPS for Luddites
November 28, 2009 2:15 PM   Subscribe

You: owner of in-car GPS with points of interest. Me: trying to buy one but not knowing which one to get and what other things I might need.

I'm looking to get an incar GPS for my parents who are moving to the area and will likely take frequent road trips throughout Texas and the South. I really like the Magellan Maestro because it interfaces with AAA. So, here's what I need to know: is there a subscription requirement for this? My parents are AAA members. Should I also be looking at other GPS systems that offer the same point of interest information?

Ideally, I want to get them something that gives them more than just directions - but also points out lots of things that they might not have otherwise known were there such as museums, hotels, restaurants, etc. I don't want to get them something, though, that requires a subscription fee for upkeep.
posted by Leezie to Shopping (4 answers total)
I'm not a GPS expert; however I have a TomTom XL 350 S that I recently purchased. Best Buy has them on sale right now for $99, which includes carrying case, car charger & computer cord.

There are many, many POI (point of interest) add-ons that are very simple to add to the device -- and they are free. You plug the tomtom into the computer, connect through the little software program and click the POI add-ons that you would like. For example, I downloaded: Hardware Stores, Starbucks, Bank of America ATMS, Museums, Tourist Attractions, Beaches, etc. There's even one for AAA offices. There are 100's of add-ons to choose from.

You can also get them for free from 3rd party places such as Pocket GPS

They do have one add-on that costs $19/year if I remember correctly -- it tells you the price of gas at the various stations around you. I don't use it, but someone who is traveling might find it useful.
posted by trixare4kids at 3:34 PM on November 28, 2009

I don't know anything about the Maestro but I use the Roadmate and its great. No subscription needed. My parents, who are in their 6th decade, recommended it to me. If they can use it, so can yours. It will point you to whatever you want, museums, hotels, restaurants, etc all categorized and easy to use.
posted by rumsey monument at 3:37 PM on November 28, 2009

The AAA Magellans have free Points of Interest updates for AAA members but map updates (you know, like streets and highways) cost extra from Magellan, with a 15% discount for AAA members. Many casual GPS owners (i.e. people who don't drive for a living) find that updating their maps every other year is plenty often enough. POI data dates more quickly as businesses come and go faster than new streets are built.
posted by jamaro at 3:44 PM on November 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

There was one of these threads before with about 8 gazillion people recommending the Garmin Nuvi series, myself being one of those people. Nice wide screens easy to comprehend, small learning curve, etc etc.

I can't speak for the Maestro's, however AFAIK all the Garmin's have free map updates.

FWIW, all the Garmin's are actually custom software on top of WindowsCE, so there are a jazillion alternative files available out there, like the 6.5 million waypoint file that's generated monthly based on (I believe, it's been a while) google maps data.
posted by TomMelee at 7:40 PM on November 28, 2009

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