GPS – Which do you prefer?

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March 21, 2009

For the entire 5 years we’ve been on the road we’ve used a GPS navigation system on our laptop to help us find our way. I wrote about this in a previous post, including a short video. This time, we also have a Garmin Nuvi ‘dashtop’ GPS. It is so much more convenient to take with us in the car, and it has a much louder speaker than our laptop. Today was the first time we used *both* the laptop and the smaller ‘dashtop’ unit.

Here’s a picture of the Garmin:

Garmin Nuvi

MS Streets and Trips
And, here’s the laptop with MS Streets and Trips at the same location.

I SO appreciate the big picture! (You can click on this image to see a bigger one.) And, planning your trip on the computer is so much better as well. It seems you need to already know where you’re going before you start programming it into the little one. I know I still have a lot to learn about using the Garmin, but, for RV travels – we’re going to hang on to the laptop with Streets and Trips.

How about you?

Chris Guld,

Computer Education for Travelers

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  40. Steve

    Delorme’s Street Atlas is tops in my opinion. First I plot our trip. Rest stops, gas stops ect. Then to my Garmin nuvi 1490T for traveling down the road. Lane changes…an asset!

    I’ve used Microsoft’s Streets & Trips and it is crap!! Better off with a map and a blind dog…..Not a dog for the blind.

  41. Charlie

    When I’m pre-planning a motorcycle or motorhome road trip in the range of 2k to 4k miles I use Streets & Trips, because it has a nice looking map, to preview the trip. To actually lay out the trip I use Garmin Mapsource software and then upload all the routes and waypoints needed for the trip to the GPS units. For the motorcycle this is a very useful tool to help avoid interstate freeways which is hard to do but necessary on a 3500 mile sightseeing trip. Just the opposite for a 39,000lb motorhome, you want to get where you are going while trying to reduce fuel consumption whenever possible. Bad news is, not all Garmins have the capability to create maps on the laptop and upload them to the GPS or vice-versa to download saved waypoints and tracks to the laptop. For the motorcycle and bicycle I use the GPS 76CSx and the 7200 on the motorhome, these are pretty old units so I’m sure there is something newer available. I can also use the 76 connected to the laptop for real time navigation which makes for the best map but way too much clutter on the dash. For those with motorhomes that have been lead down a road to narrow or dead ends might want to try truckers GPS software, I wouldn’t recommend it though. If you need in-depth info on a particular GPS or associated software ask the manufacture, they are lots of help.

    There are several other well known brands out there that I have tried but did not mention, if you like them, thats what counts. Hope this helps.


  42. Tireman9

    I have used various Garmin hand helds for 5 years or so ( Lots o Geocaching).
    I have Garmin map software on my home PC
    First in-car unit was a Garmin 330 which I found it was much better and SAFER to listen than to try and read the screen while driving.

    Now have a Nuvi 255W which I really like.

    However I find that there are a number of errors in the Garmin maps. Garmin does not respond with fixes to actual errors. I am not talking about new features or of businesses that close but fundamental errors such as sending me down a dirt road, or telling me to turn on a road that has been closed for many years.

    Garmin desktop map software is expensive (S&T about 1/3 the cost of Garmin update) so I have started to use S&T for trip planning. I can transfer the POI to my Nuvi so with a little effort I get the best of both worlds.

    I agree that a large laptop screen is even better but my boss (wife) would much rather watch the scenery go by than hold a laptop. (She’s not a Geek so what can I say) .

  43. Gerald Bentley

    I have used both the S & T and Delorme and I much prefer the S & T for simplisity of programing and ease of operation the map base is also much better

  44. Bob Tenerowicz

    I prefer the laptop based programs because any Garmin type GPS the can be used for a Motorhome is extremey expensive.

    I have used Microsoft Streets and Trips since 2006 and have the 2009 version as well. My problem with this software is that it is designed for automobiles and not for motorhomes. I have personally been routed down narrow streets and even streets that specifically note “Not for Truck use”, but once I turned the corner I was commited. I got some nasty looks on that street.

    I do love the user friendly manner of Streets and Trips, and the way it displays the trips and the driving directions.

    I have since purchased CoPilot Navigator 9 which has an option for choosing RV’s. This option sets the clearance at 12′-6″ for underpasses and will not allow you to choose a road with a lower clearance. It is not as user friendly as Streets and Trips but once you get used to it you can navigate through the maps with ease. The printed driving directions are not very useful as delivered by the program, but you can export them to Microsoft Excel and adjust them to your liking.

  45. Pingback: Geeks on Tour – Articles » Blog Archive » Streets and Trips 2010

  46. David Seymour

    I have a megilan 3000t roadmate, about 3 yrs.old. It has taken me a few places I didn’t want to go. With a 30 ft RV behind me ,I need some room to turn around in. I would like to find a GPS that takes in to account the length of rig. Also maps are always 3 years behind on their system even updates you buy from them. I now use paper maps as I am not in a hurry to get around, retirement is great. [email protected]



  48. Richard M. Clark

    I use a MAC. I haven’t found a program that will work with them.

  49. Bob

    Well let’s all remember why we RV. We go to places we’ve never been before OR we want to go to new places. I for one like to take the road less traveled, why? I want to find new places and see new things.With GPS most of them you enter where you and where you want to go, then it gives you the shortest fastest way to get there. This is all well and good if we want to take those crowded freeways. Don’t get me wrong I do keep a GPS if the RV. I carry the new Dell mini 9, not as big as laptop not as small as hand held GPS. Just right I think. I also use a Verizon aircard. Haven’t been anywhere remote that this card can’t connect. One important note about the Verizon card…..if by chance you get no signal, the Verizon card come with power cable (cable with two usb connector at one and the other plegs into the air card. The result is a power booted aircard and wham you got signal. I wonder why people are spending the extra money (and its not cheap) for the RV wifi kit when this aircard is FREE with a two year contract. Remeber you need to have plan for the RV wifi also.

    Anyway the Dell Mini 9 (for 9″ screen) weighs in at a whoppping 1.1 lbs. Find any laptop that lite. This with the Microsoft Streets and Maps (with GPS) now gives you a screen you (the driver) can see. The Delorme is almost identical. I belive the Microsoft porgram also haas the most points of interests (11 million).

    So as you can tell I vote for the small laptop with GPS program. But everyone is different.

    Also one important thing to remember is the Microsoft (and Delorme) Streets and Maps is compatible with bluetooth GPS antennas. Go to their website to download the driver to connect to windows XP or Vista for a free 14 day trial.

    Then you can place your rechargable antenna on your dashboard and use you computer/laptop within 30′ of the device.

    Got any questions? Ask away…….


  50. al komin

    i recently purchased a garmin nuvi 260. i hope to use it in our class C motorhome. i hope the camper overhang doesn’t block the satellite signals……any comments out there?

  51. Connie

    I loved my Garmin until it lead me to tunnels I couldn’t take because my RV has propane. So I switched to Co-Pilot, which is the only one that has an RV setting that will steer you around tunnels that do not allow propane.

  52. AL Drummond

    I now use AT&T Navigator on my cell phone. With bluetooth you can hear the voice directions very well and unlike many of the others I have never found the maps to be outdated.
    I know of a friend with a Garmin with 2009 updates that showed him driving in a field, while my At&T showed all the new roads that were 2 years old and even exits on Interstates changed 6 months ago were correct.
    If you miss a turn it will inform you to make a U-turn, if you continue it will automatically re-route to your turn. This is VERY helpful with a 36ft Class A.
    DOWNSIDE $15.00 month unlimited usage, A little smaller display
    ADVANTAGES Only 1 unit to purchase, 1 unit to keep track of and most all carry a cell phone anyhow. Always up to date, No map updates to purchase, Always having your maps with you.
    Works really well! I have used most of the others mentioned here also.


    We use a GARMIN- C-330 Street pilot, It only gave us the wrong turn info once, But we knew it was wrong so ignored it. I have ALS so cant drive but act as CO- PILOT for my SPOUSE or one our sons if they are with us. My wife always prints out our ROUTE on MAPQUEST, And we also have the NEXT EXIT atlas the RV ROAD ATLAS. We are very plzd with our GPS and just upgraded the software to the 2009 upgrade. Cant wait to hit the road in APRIL to see a daughters new home in NORTH CAROLINA. JOHN & TERI BENWELL>

  54. Hoot Gibson

    I use streets & trips for planing trips but use the Garmin while driving. Have had a problem in updating my Garmin 330c last year. Ended up having to send it in. This year my daughter-in-law had the same problem and had to send hers back to the company to get it fixed.


  55. I use CoPilot 11 and it works great. I have it installed on a Toshiba Portege touch screen and mounts in the MH on a RAM mounting system. it can be installed in less then 30 seconds and easily seen from the drivers seat. With the RAM mount adjustments both the CoPilot and I can see the screen when needed. The touch screen makes all of the difference in recalculating or picking POI. I also have it hard wired into 120 Volt, a blue tooth GPS receiver and a Verizon Internet card. All of the wires are hidden this way.

    Co Pilot doesn’t have enough campground listings.They say you can import them but it is above my pay scale. I have had ver 9 and 10 and version 11 works much better. 10 did not like my Vista computer at all.

    In regards to finding more fuel stops I think you can download from the Flying J and the other Major truck stops web sites. If not you can find all of their locations online. Another great reason to have a laptop.

    We have Onstar in the Toad and use it all of the time. One note on On Star, for some reason it does NOT have Alaska in its Data Base. It does have Hawaii though!! How many people drive to Hawaii? All of Canada is in it and works even in Dawson City!!

    Travel Life Nav. is great for planning the trips and finding campgrounds, they don’t like KOA campgrounds and many KOAs are not listed and if so have poor ratings. It is really hard to get the best routes picked without using via points. With some patience you do a wonderfull job of planning those long trips and monitoring how long each days drive is going to be. I have had the previous versions of it too and the 2008 is by far their best product. I agree that they could make a text file to import the data into the other programs should be an option. For $35.00 it is a bargain though. I will upgrade to 2009 soon also.

    Keep your maps handy and hope to see you on the road.

  56. David

    I trust my Magellan Maestro AAA version. Comes with campgrounds already preloaded. I have an older 4000, I do believe more modern version are available.
    Upgrades also availble online for a price.

  57. Jim Quinn

    I’ve used a Garmin Nuvi 200 for some time and the only time it steered me wrong was when it told me to exit a freeway for a short distance and then to again enter the same freeway. It was due to the fact that the freeway overpass that it bypassed had been under construction but since (recently) had reopened after the construction had been finished. Not a big deal at all. Have used Tom-Tom and Magellan but preferred the Garmin. The one thing I’d like to have the Garmin engineers do is enable the user to set a default state and city. Currently when I search for any address I have to enter the state, then spell the city, then enter the address. I’d like to have it remember those items (with the option of changing them) and allow me to start data entry at the address.

  58. Tom McGrath

    Norman, I had the same problem with hearing the direction’s. I brought some pretty cheap amp speakers that plug into the Laptop which helps. But here you go again more wire to contend with.

    Also I use the Streets and Trips . Great program pretty easy to set up once you get used too it.
    One feature I would like to have on this program is one that warns you of roads that have low overheads. Would be a nice feature if you could have some program you could download that would give you some general advice of height of on the road requirement for larger Motor homes to avoid,. Also show you where some of the better gas stations are that can accommodate you motorhome I don’t know how many white knuckles I have had when I was checking out service stations watching for small overhangs and steep pitchs where I would drag bottom.

    One other thing that is interesting when I was working for the Forest service I had the opportunity to use some of the early GPS units which at that time was running close to $11,000.00 each and at that time the government controlled the satellites which is some case you we not able to get more then 3 satellites at time and the it was only for a certain time frame but even then it was accurate. So for the price we pay of these new toys is really quit resonable considering what they cost when Tremble made the GPS units 15 years ago. Whats the old saying WE HAVE C0ME A LONG WAY BABY.

  59. We’re right there with you! We recently got a Nuvi and use it in the car. The laptop with DeLorme Street Atlas guides us in the motorhome, and certainly is superior for advance trip planning. The only real problem we’ve had with DeLorme is that it is too slow if we have to travel through cities.

    We have taken some wild rides through the back country relying 100% on DeLorme, so we’ve learned to check out new routes before we commit to them.

    And one more thing: we’ve turned off the sound with DeLorme because we don’t like that voice screeching “OFF ROUTE!” Nuvi is much nicer with its calm “Recalculating.”

  60. Hi Chris.

    We have also been using the Delorme GPS with our Laptop ever since they came out with the Delorme GPS System many years ago. Besides being a very good GPS system, its nice to have a Laptop with you, for more infomation, and for Wi-Fi’ing. I bought ,my wife a TOM-TOM ONE for her SUV. As she travels a lot with her work.
    We also have the Campground Navigator. The TOM-TOM works pretty darn well also, but the screen is to small, and you can’t see far enough ahead, like you can with a Laptop GPS System. The Delorme GPS is a lot easier to plan your trips on. We have tried using both the Delorme and the TOM-TOM at the same to to compair. We sure won’t get getting rid of the Laptom any time soon. As there are just to many advantages to having a Laptop with you. Such as for Wi-Fi’ing, playing music in areas of no radio reseption, you can play DVD Movies.
    I don’t have any problems what so ever using the Laptop. As our F-250 PSD is an Automatic Transmission, I just put a one step stool on the transmissions hump, and then used two small Ball type Bungie Cords to hold the stool in place. I coverd the top of the stool with some of that no-slip rubber shelf liner. it keeps the Laptop in position, no matter what kind of roads we are on, or how sharp a turn we have to make. The big plus, for using the one step stool, is that we both can see the Laptops screen very easily. No problems with hearing the directions on our Toshiba Sat Pro 4600. Happy Camping All. Dan & Jill

  61. Drew

    How do you see anything on a computer screen while driving? How would you be able to change anything on the computer while driving? There are a lot of people challenged by computers just sitting at home. I use a Garmin.

  62. barbara kruger

    I have used AAA trip Tiks and maps for first step planning for years, I then use Delorme on my lap top for variations and that works well for me. However as a solo driving a motorhome, I would not be without my garmin dash mount to tell me which lane to be in going through a city or if I suddenly find myself needing to detour.

  63. Florio Campi

    The only drawback to a laptop is it’s not handy to use in the (toad) car.
    I recently got CoPilot Laptop11 to replace Ver.8 and I wish I’d saved my money. They have eliminated the features that make me like a laptop instead of a dash mount. I like to print maps of where I’ve been and keep them in my trip journal. The old version could record where you actually went and replay your route like a video. Version 11 is actually programed for a hand held or dash mount but is sold as “laptop”. Why else would they put a “qwerty” layout on the screen to make enties? I don’t know of many laptops with touchscreens. Many other bugs in this version but I still like the laptop over the dash mount units.
    Tech help said they may or may not put some of the omited features back in Ver.12. I’ll definitely investigate more before “upgrading” again.

  64. Gary Howard

    I used a Garmin c530 when traveling to Arizona a couple of years ago and found it did a great job for the most part as long as you plugged in the correct address.
    As others have stated it did take us the wrong way occasionally.
    We no longer have it though (lost it.) We haven’t had an opportunity to hit the road since then and have not bought a replacement GPS
    I now have a Chevy truck with Onstar but have not tried it yet .
    Has any one used Onstar and how well does it work compared to the other options?

  65. Norman E. Palmer

    I have been using S&T for 4 years and think it is great…I travel about 6 months every year. Would like to see better help in finding diesel stops that will work for big rig…while I am enroute. Also, I need to find a way to get louder speakers. I will admit I have not used any other GPS…just have not felt the need.

  66. Russ Anderson

    I think we need to be clear that the question is really an apple’s and Oranges issue. I have used the MS Maps & Streets for over 10 years as a planning tool. I identify routes, stops, conveniences (points of interest with in 25 miles (augmented by Woodalls campgrounds and points of interest) of a location and details ahead of time so I can anticipate turns etc.. I even print out macro maps and then the turn-offs for my spouse who is a Geographically handicapped navigator. It helps her to advise and keep oriented as well as correct my mistakes (often, now that I am over 39)!

    I started with a small screen GPS, but couldn’t see it clearly (like: time, speed, expected arrival etc). we moved to a Garmin 660 which my spouse loves for her car and our Winnebago.
    I moved up to a Sony 4.8″ screen and love it, especially in the RV. It compliments the maps, but gives us detail as to number of lanes, how close to turn-offs, which lane to be in and street detail for orienting ourselves in the communities we visit.

    There is nothing more harrowing than being in a major city expressway and having to get in to the correct lane to flow onto a major or minor highway in a Class “A” RV without having to do “panic” lane changes, slow downs or major corrective re-routes because we missed the turn.

    Our relationship is happier, more stress free upon arrival at our destination and our insurance company loves us due to accident free traveling. Each have there purpose and avid travelers should have both!

  67. Chris Fleck

    I use a Garmin NUVI 660 in my car and move it to the motorhome when traveling. Pretrip I do my routing on google maps. As someone else mentioned, the GPS doesn’t always know the best route, but it is great for the details when you get off the interstate. I print out the maps along with any potential campgrounds and list their phone numbers so that as we approach we can make arrangements. It would be nice if I could load the route I want to take into the Garmin, but it really doesn’t make that much difference to me.

  68. Morris Randle

    I also have a garmin streetpilot 7200 in my motorhome and love the 7 inch screen and clear voice the only problem I had so far was travelling on a road where a new bypass was constructed past a city and I did not have an updated map but knew where I was going so it was no problem I also puchased another bracket so I can use it in the toad.

  69. Bob Derivan

    I’ve used a lot of different laptop mapping programs from Delorme Street Atlas, Co-Pilot, Campground Navigator, and Garmin’s Mapsource. I also have a Garmin Nuvi. If I’m just using a laptop program, I really prefer Delorme’s Street Atlas for ease of customizing and accuracy. If you want to use your Garmin, you can map a trip with Mapsourse and download it to your Garmin if it’s capable but the program takes a lot of practice to get used to and is not real user friendly. I use them all when planning a long trip because each has unique features. I’m currently planning a trip to Alaska and most of the trip planning was done with Street Atlas with help from Campground Navigator to find campgrounds along the route I’ll use but I’ll use my Garmin also for it’s ease of use.

  70. Don

    Hi Chris,

    Over the years I have used a laptop PC with Delorme Software. It’s very accurate and if you take the time to put in your Via points you will never get in trouble. Then I use Trailer Life Campground Navigator to find my campground. I also added an external monitor of 11 inches to mount on my dash, but honestly there were a lot of wires etc. and where do you put the PC ? NOW I have the BEST of both worlds. First I find that ALL GPS devices where you rely on the unit to determine your destination will eventually get you in a place you don’t want to be. SO I insure that doesn’t happen with my new system which is using a Garmin 7200 GPS , nice big 7 inch screen ( fairly expensive ) and clear voice instructions. But first I use Map Source software which comes with the Garmin and on my Laptop to carefully create all my own maps and I select each road, each turn and I never once have gotten off track in my last two Cross Country adventures from Massachusetts, to the Dakotas,Wa,Ca, New Mexico, UTah, Colorado etc etc… I create each days maps and download them into my GPS. In creating my maps I have found it important to scan the entire trip at a Zoomed in level to insure that I put all my via points exactly where I want them and that the GPS doesn’t decide to take a direction I didn’t want it to. Bottom line you can rely 100% on this GPS unlike all other GPS’s that I have seen and tested.
    A perfect example of a GPS taking me the wrong way is when we go to Florida each Feb. It will normally take me over the GW bridge ( which I don’t want ) and through the Baltimore Tunnel ( which is illegal) So I create my own maps using Via insertions to take me around those areas. If anyone would like more specific information please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

  71. Richard Medlock

    We use the StreetPilot 7200 in the coach. We bought an extra “mounting bracked” and can use it in the dingy but is awkward due to size. But in the coach, the 7200 has a huge screen, adjustabe volume, all the bells & whistles. If you want a Garmin for the dingy or just around town, get a smaller one with the items which will serve you best for that purpose. I’ve never tried the one for the laptop, but I see a distinct advantage in it because it also shows clearence heights for bridges, almost a must back east. There you have it – one last item on the one for the laptop, if you’re looking for screen size, one can connect it to your TV if you have one up front that your navigator could monitor and you can also connect the audio out of the laptop to the audio in on the TV.
    Food for thought.

    Richard Medlock

  72. RubyAnn

    We used S & T on our last big trip, and I really appreciated it’s accuracy. The only tw0 problems we had was getting from Laughlin to Parrump – think turning your truck and 30′ trailer around in the Las Vegas airport and in Nashville- took an hour and a half and three stops for directions to get to our campground supposedly a 15 minutes trip.
    We have just purchased a Garmin StreetPilot 7200. We ahve only used it once so far, and we kind of knew where we were going, and it was fine. The voice and map were both clear and easy to understand. Theproblem I have is I can’t tell where the route is to be. If there is a way to preview it, I can’t figure it out.
    If there us a solution to that I would really appreciate knowing.

  73. Tom Krimminger

    Just remember who is ultimately responsible for your safety—YOU! It’s the old “trust but verify” routine with any GPS system. They are wrong sometimes so don’t blindly follow the directions. I have been using Garmins since 2004 and wouldn’t have anything else. My original Garmin is an antique and not supported anymore by Garmin so last year I bought a 750. The old one was still working so I willed it to a friend of mine and she plans to use it on a coast to coast trip this summer.

    You can purchase the Map Source product which is loaded into the unit and install on your computer for planning and if you want to download your planning into the unit.

    The secret to being happy with any GPS is to become an expert in its use. I’ve flown aircraft all over this world and OH what I would have given for a GPS!

  74. Jack Nichols

    I used paper maps and the Delorme on my laptop exclusively when I drove an 18 wheeler for two years, and once I learned the Delorme program, it took the stress of navigation out of the job. Cost was my primary motivation to use the laptop I alread had, and add on a $70 (or so) program and USB antenna.

    There are several programs geared toward big trucks. I thought they might be beneficial because they are supposed to alert you to load zoned roads, weight restricted roads and bridges, and/or low overhead objects, always good to know with a 12’+ tall RV. I have no experience with them.

    Recently a friend gave me a 4″ Garmin dash top unit I used to find my way around Phoenix in my towed. I love the simplicity and usefulness of it. I still use the laptop and Delorme 2008 Plus to find routes, locations and general Atlas work, and then only in the office.

    I have no experience with Streets and Trips, but many swear by it.

    I still have my paper map books but have not looked at them in a year.

    My RV has a built in Garmin based GPS, nice 7″ diagonal screen and it works much like the 4″ dash top unit, so I have a comfort level with it.

    The Garmin based units are MUCH easier to operate while in the car or RV (yea, I know – shouldn’t do that – only when parked – never to plot a course while driving. I just know SOMEBODY will try to preach to us about that.)

    One caution – the GPS units will occasionally not understand what the real world is out there, so may (from my experience north of Chicago one rainy night) route you across an airport runway that it thinks is a street. It may have been a street on some plat sometime in the past, and updates have not caught up. I would recommend you get the latest software available to decrease your “adventures in motoring”. Just be aware that the unit may do that to you. It happens less and less frequently as mapping software databases catch up.

    I am a past instrument pilot and very familiar with paper maps, but GPS is light years ahead, and I cannot imagine anyone not using it.

  75. Ed Cameron

    I like the copilot truck laptop 9 , it doesn”t take me anywhere there is a bridge under 13′ 6” and a trailer under 40 foot could not make the turns…

  76. Larry

    I use an Averatec and it does a pretty good job, but if it loses the signal due to a mountain or something blocking the signal, it’ll tell you to do some pretty goofy things. There are a few areas of the country where there are seemingly dead spots. It has a clear view of the sky but it’s acting like it doesn’t know where it is. The memory chip is a couple of years out of date, but it does a good job on older addresses. Like several here have said, it’s always a good idea to preplan your trip with an up to date Rand McNally Road Atlas. I never leave home without mine. Having been a trucker for 31 years is a plus, also.

  77. Chuck

    I use Delorme Street Atlas. As a full-timer my POI’s are specific to thr RV industry. I want things like All campground membership parks, Wanlamrt (Super and gas), Flying J, National and State parks, repair facilitiesand about 20 other categories.

    I get all my POI’s imported into Delorme from one site so I’m good to go. I also provide updates as I travel around this country as do all the other users.

    It’s the ease of maintainability that drives me to Delorme.

  78. pang

    use both S & T and garmin, good to have both pictures, used to like s&t for tracking trailk where i’ve driven, but after a few hours, it loads up s&t’s and computer’s resources too much. When driving in and out of big cities or in commuter traffic I reallyy like having the garmin diect me, especially since I usually am solo. Actuaaly ihave both older garmin steet pilot 2620 and newer magellan maestro , both usually off different routes, I like magellan for having address book and AAA’s tour book information . Garmin is better for routing usually. If I had to choose betwwen a laptop and a dash gps, I would HAVE to choose a dedicated dash unit and use an atlas for the big overall picture.

  79. Hi Chris, I’m not sure why you find programming the laptop navigaton easier than the nuvi but over time you should change your mind. Our most popular selling unit right now (without the extra non navigation features) is the nuvi 255W ( At $235.00 it’s a great unit. In the motorhome I prefer the larger display of the StreetPilot 7200. Thanks.

  80. Gerald

    We have been using a laptop for about 9 years with DeLorme’s software. Last year, we used DeLorme and TrailerLife. I like Delorme better for routing and TrailerLife for locating campgrounds. For the last two years, we have also used a dash mounted GPS (Tom Tom). I love the GPS! However, I’ve found that both DeLorme and Tom Tom will sometimes take you out of the way so I plan my trip with DeLorme. Then I look it over carefully and force it to go where if should (if necessary) with via points. With that done, I use it to make sure the Tom Tom isn’t doing something that I don’t want. Tom Tom will take you out of the way rather than let you make a U turn. For example, you are east bound on a divided highway and your destination is on the west side of the road. It will continue to take you east bound until it can find a traffic signal or make a series of turns until it can cross the highway and make a left turn to take you back west to you destination.

  81. John Shelton

    Don’t hear much about my favorite system. I have been using DeLorme Street Atlas USA navigation for several years now. I bought the latest update, 2007 version, in late 2006. (the old one was 8 to 10 years old.) I already travel with a laptop computer, so the $100 for the tracking device and software is a small price compared to the tiny dash top models. (One of the current ultra small laptops, commonly called netbooks, would be quite ideal for this purpose.) I use a 12/120 inverter to power the laptop for extended periods of time while traveling. (A 150 watt inverter costs a whole lot less than a 12 volt power adapter specifically for your laptop model) A person would not be fair to themselves if they did not check out DeLorme before spending several hundred dollars on a less capable system.

  82. Pam Evans

    We plan at home with Trailer Life Naviagator and AAA Trip Tickets on-line and print the trip ticket for long tirps. On the road we use our Garmin in either the motorhome or Toad.
    Recenlty we have had a problem with satilite loss – both times on interstate so no real issue. On I35 in Iowa it really wanted us on a state road about 10 miles over but we didn’t listen.
    My husband really fusses with “Jack” and the one time he took it without me somhow it got muted and wouldn’t talk to home.
    I vote for having both.

  83. Hockeyguy08

    I am not a mobile user but do use a Magellan for my boat and a Michelan unit for my vehicular use. Both do a decent job but I can see where the laptop would be very useful for distance planning and getting a sense of how far along you are.
    I always try to have a map handy to refer to also…

  84. Roger

    We have only had our RV for 1 year but have been Geocaching for about 7 years.
    I have used the Garmin hand held E-Trex Legend as it allows direct entry of Latitude and Longitude which is a necessity for geocahcing.
    During this time I used Garmin Mapsource software for planning trips and uploading points of interest or specific locations we were going to stop at so I didn’t need to be constantly punching info into the unit.
    Used it for providing directions but it wasn’t the safest thing to be looking at the small screen while driving.
    A couple of years ago I received a Garmin C330 dash top gps as a gift and used it for a few of our driving vacations. The verbal instructions were a definate plus and I continued to use MapSource for trip planning and again for entering key points of our trip into the unit.
    As we expand our travels I decided to get a newer unit and selected the Garmin Nuvi 255W. Like many of the new features. Voice directions are a bit better than the C330.
    I have been less than happy with the Garmin MapSource software due to a number of errors and information that is years out of date. They have shown no interest in provifing any corrections but are more than happy to sell me a new $100 map CD ( with many of the same errors). The plus is the easy upload of points of interest.
    I recently purchased MS Streets & Trips and am still learning the new features. Uploading points to a Garmin unit is a bit more cumbersome so I have to balance the map software accuracy with ease of data transfer.
    I have never used a map program on a laptop while driving as I can’t imagine not paying attention to the road while looking at the laptop.

  85. Jack Francis

    I’m a gadget freak, so I have Co-Pilot, Streets and Trips and a Garmin 330 Street Pilot. The Garmin is the most convenient to use – easy to move from RV to Jeep to car. If you have navigator with you in the RV, Co-Pilot is very good. I don’t have enough experience with “Streets…’ but it seems cumbersome in comparison to Co-Pilot. If I had to go with just one, it would be the Gamin – easy to program, easy to read for a solo driver, easy to transport between vehicles.

  86. Robert

    In our case, Carole and I use the Garmin Nuvi 680. On many occasions our GPS would tell us that we arrived at destination but on the wrong side of the road …it is specially true when we are looking for a restaurant. The use of a 17″ laptop in our vehicle is out of question so, we complement our driving with local maps. Thanks God that I have an excellent co-pilot.

  87. Dave Planitzer

    I have and use Streets and Trips and also the Trailer Life Navigator. I use S&T for quick trip routings and TLN for long camping trips like across country.
    Once I plan the trip and select possible camp grounds (I also use my CampClub directory for the planing) I’ll create an itinerary with Excel to have the order and names to plug into my Garman Nuvi. Works great!
    I don’t have room in my pickup cab for the laptop with the DW and two dogs there.
    I found some web sites that have extensive downloadable lists of campgrounds for the Garmin including Good Sam parks, State and National Parks and others.
    I wish that the TLN campground information were Text rather than PDF so they could be Copied and Pasted into the Excel sheet then I could have all of the addresses, coordinates and phone numbers of my destinations all in one easy to use hard copy.

  88. I forgot to mention that I also enjoy doing a “drive through” on Google Earth with 3D terrain settings turned on before a trip, and frequently find interesting places to stay and visit using that as well as avoiding difficult mountain roads.

  89. William Eder

    Magellan has been our favorite. I Have a Nuvi in the toad and find the Magellan in the coach much better. Hasen’t led us wrong yet.

  90. While it doesn’t work too well for the driver, as navigator I love using my iPhone with Google Maps, but I frequently have the laptop with DeLorme Street Atlas running with a TripMate GPS, too. We’ve never bought a dedicated GPS, and since both my husband and i have hearing loss, probably wouldn’t want to depend on a computerized voice to give directions.

  91. BOB

    I use both a map ( thanks to AAA) and my two GPS. I have one GPS that I use in my car and one lap top in the Class A motor home. Even though I like my GPS, they occasionally make mistakes. I was driving south on Rt. 75 towards Tn. from Ohio and knew I was suppose to stay on 75. The GPS kept telling me to get off and take some other route in the middle of the mountains. If I didn’t know better, I could still be driving around. I told this to a friend of mine who swears by his GPS and he said couldn’t happen. That was until he took a trip with me and saw it for himself on both of my GPS’s. That’s why I always have a trip tick and map. I took the Garmin GPS to Europe with me a couple of years ago and it was a blessing. Never had a problem getting from one point to an other. Will not travel with out the GPS any more, but I still have my map just in case….

  92. Roger Weare

    Use “Streets & Trips” for planning and printing out maps of potential hard spots. Use Garmin for everyday driving. I also write out a list of route numbers for a quick check of where I am for the days travel. It helps for I travel alone.

  93. Grampa Jim

    I agree with Mike…..exactly what we do, plus I have my trusted comprehensive Trailer Life Atlas which I wouldn’t leave home without.

  94. Ray Palandri

    I use the Trailer Life Campground Navigator to plan my trips then I use a Tom Tom dash top for the trip and it has worked great and as my wife says, it has saved our marriage. When we get to our destination we transfer the Tom Tom to our toad to help us find our way around a new area.

    We have driven through some metropolitan areas during some heavy traffic times (Houston and San Antonio) and or Tom Tom has gotten us through every time.

  95. Mike

    Like you, I use both but usually do not use the laptop for trips of less than 4 hours. When I do use the laptop, Streets and Trips, I usually printout the maps for two or three days at a time and keep them on the console where my navigator can keep her eye on wkat is supposed to be coming up in the next 50 miles or so.

  96. Nick Montalbano

    You just can’t beat Streets & Trips, so easy to look over the whole route and make any changes you see fit. Also as you drive along you can see where other roads may take you. I do have a Garmin I take along to use in my toad, but find the Garmin doesn’t always pick the best route. I also own Co-Pilot and Street Atlas, but as I said you can’t beat Streets & Trips.

  97. I think you hit the nail on the head with the advantages & disadvantages of both systems. I find I don’t bother to drag along the laptop unless I am making a long, multi day trip any more, however I do appreciate the extra “map space” the laptop provides. I do prefer Delorme’s Street Atlas over Streets & Trips, but my full time GPS is an old Garmin 2730.