The Tripologist with Michael Gebicki
I'M PLANNING A FOUR-WEEK ROAD TRIP AROUND ENGLAND. HIRE COMPANIES SEEM TO CHARGE MORE FOR HIRING A GPS THAN THE COST OF BUYING ONE. COULD I BUY A GPS HERE AND LOAD IT WITH UK ROAD MAPS, OR IS THERE A BETTER IDEA? HOW DO YOU PAY ROAD TOLLS IN THE UK, DO YOU NEED A TOLL TAG OR CAN YOU PAY WITH CASH?
C. WILKINSON, BATHURST
Buying a GPS device in Australia and downloading the UK maps you need is one option, but not the best if you're looking to save money. You could achieve the same result for less if you simply buy a GPS navigator when you get to the UK. For example you could purchase a TomTom XL for £79 ($145) preloaded with UK maps from Tesco at the moment. Argos and Halfords are other high street shops with similar deals. When you return to Australia you could even sell your device over the internet and recoup some of the cost.
If you are travelling with a smartphone or tablet you can also purchase and download the maps you need from Sygic (sygic.com). These enable your phone or tablet to function as a satnav device, with turn-by-turn voice prompts as well as a visual feed. I've used Sygic maps on an iPad for several overseas self-drive trips and they work well, they're cost effective and once downloaded, no expensive data connection is required.
Toll roads are rare in the UK, unlike most of continental Europe. Those that do exist are almost a anachronism, such as the Aldwark Bridge in North Yorkshire where the toll is 40p. The one major road where you will encounter a toll is a section of the M6. This is a major highway, and easily avoided, but if you do pass through the tollgate you can pay with cash, a VISA card, MasterCard or American Express cards.