Drive Like a Local – Use a GPS

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Freeway_StackMy husband and I thought about buying a GPS last Christmas when they were all on sale but decided against it. We just didn’t think we’d get enough use out of it to justify the $100 or so it would cost.

We bought one last week. It will save our marriage. That’s how we’re justifying the expense.

My daughter plays soccer on a travel team. That means that several times a year we travel out of state for tournaments. Last week we were in Las Vegas for a player’s showcase tournament. It was a really big deal. There were college scouts from all over the country attending to look for players for their schools. Coach wanted the girls at the field 1 hour before game time so they could stretch and focus before the game. We left the hotel before the other families but still arrived about 30 minutes late.

We’ve been to Las Vegas for tournaments before so are pretty familiar with the field locations. I had written a few notes from Google Maps (go left on I-95 etc.) and had a general idea of where we were going so thought we were ok. The freeway we needed to get on ran east/west on the map. We needed to go west but when we got to that freeway the options were north or south. What?!? We don’t need to go north or south, we need to go west! By the time we figured it out we had passed the exit.


My husband got off at the next exit thinking we would just get back on the freeway and be on our way only to find – construction, and one way streets, and dead ends. We were lost. Really lost. We eventually found the street the soccer field was on but the speed limit was 35 miles an hour. Every mile felt like ten as we watched the minutes go by. If we can get there in 15 minutes we’ll be ok. We’re supposed to be there by now, I hope we’re close. We’ll, we’re only 15 minutes late… It was awful. My husband was mad, I was crying, and we didn’t speak to each other during the game.

Later, when we were telling Coach why we were late, my husband made a comment about me not knowing which way to go and I said, “My name is not GPS!” We bought one the next day.

I didn’t research every model; I just bought the cheapest one I found. It’s a Garmin Nuvi 205. So far it does everything I want it to. I can type in the address of my destination and it tells me how to get there. If I take a wrong turn it tells me where to turn to get back on the right track. I don’t know how it will work in all circumstances but so far it hasn’t told me to make any u-turns when I’ve gone the wrong way. As I’m driving, it shows my car moving along the street and as I pass intersecting streets it shows the street names so if I don’t have the address for some reason but know I have to turn right on Main Street I’ll know when Main Street is coming up.

If you’re on the fence about purchasing a GPS I encourage you to just do it. Or borrow one from a friend before your next trip. It’s never fun to fight, but it’s worse when you’re on vacation. Being in an unfamiliar place or running late to an event can make tempers shorter than normal. And when you finally get to the park you’ve been looking forward to visiting for months, it’s hard to put on a happy face if you’ve just had a screaming match with your husband. It’s not fun for the kids, either. It may even be harder on them than you. This really is one of those purchases that I wish we had made a long time ago. We haven’t gotten lost very often but could have avoided a lot of vacation stress.

Photo by: austrini

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