I guess like many parents of grown up children, my own started to use satellite navigation devices to get around. My initial reaction was, why pay so much when the old fashioned maps give all the information you need. Plus, I thought, and still do, that young adults will not learn the skills of map reading and in consequence have little idea geographically of where they are going or where they end up. This was born out to some extent when I asked my sons on a recent visit, what route they took e.g M25, A12 etc. The reply was that they really didn’t know as they just followed the directions spoken to them from the Sat Nav. Aha I thought smugly, these new devices are not so good after all, as when, rather than if, they break down, you won’t be able to find your way.
That said, however, my wife and I were planning a trip to Salzburg to visit a friend and we would need to hire a car from the airport to get to Schliersee in Germany where she lived. Hire car companies charge around £50 extra for use of a satellite navigation so having discovered you can buy one from around the same price, I decided to bite the bullet and get our own. So I ordered an RAC 300E Sat Nav with Western Europe maps through Amazon for £49.99. A few days later our Sat Nav arrived and after a little setting up and playing around, I found it really simple to operate. Before our trip to Europe we used it for several trips in the UK and were surprised at the routes it took us, saving us many miles and consequent petrol costs on just usual routes. In fact it pretty much paid for itself in the first few weeks.
Our trip to Europe also proved most successful and ‘Brenda’ as we came to call our Sat Nav performed brilliantly. The journey from Salzburg Airport to Schliersee was very easy, just following ‘Brenda’s’ directions. Once there we wanted to visit some of the ‘Sound Of Music’ film locations and ‘Brenda’ directed us to everything we wanted to see, saving a good deal on a tourist coach trip with the added advantage of doing things at our own speed. Interestingly enough, Salzburg does not provide very clear signs to many of the Sound Of Music locations but a visit to a tourist information centre gave us the location details to load into our Sat Nav and ‘Brenda’ did the rest. I guess Salzburg really wants people to go on the guided tourist trips rather than wandering about on your own, which is fair enough.
Following our little European adventure we took my mother to Wales for a little holiday. Once more ‘Brenda’ performed really well. The clear voice instructions are excellent but you do have to apply a little common sense when sometimes very narrow, single lane roads are used to direct you. For us this added to the fun and adventure but may frustrate others. Overall, we would not be without our Sat Nav now.
Simon Hensby aka Grey Olltwit
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