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Do you know, the number one question no one has asked me this month?
“What Sat Nav do you use?”
Honestly, it’s 100% true, no one has asked me what SatNav I use, why would they? In the same way no one has asked me what tooth paste, or deodorant I use. I mean anyone Google “Caravan Sat Nav” can’t they? Having said that, I’m going to tell you anyway…..
No one likes to get lost. Why not start the article with stating the obvious! But it’s true, no one likes to get lost. If you’re with someone else it can cause arguments, if you’re on your own you’ll beat yourself up for getting lost. But we all know getting lost is easy, it’s as easy as, well, getting lost.
Losing your way in a car is one thing, you can always do a U turn or turn around. Whilst towing a Caravan, or even in a Motorhome, this is normally something you try to avoid where ever possible. Every caravanner, at some point, has the nightmare where they are driving down a really narrow road and come to a dead end – don’t they? Maybe it’s just me. In any case, you don’t want to get into a situation where the road is too narrow. Maps might not always help in these instances.
How To Prevent Getting Lost?
You can get a map, if you can read one and hold it up the right way that’s fine, although a little tricky if alone. You can get a co pilot, someone sitting besides you who can read a map and say directions, which is handy if you need someone to blame. You can even use road signs if you have an idea where you’re going in the first place. Lastly, you can get a Sat Nav, either on your phone, built into your car or a separate Sat Nav unit.
I have a Sat Nav in the car, I use it every so often, mainly I personally use my mobile phone. One in particular I use is Waze and it’s great, it’s community run so you inform other drivers of accidents, slow traffic, police sitings and other road based hazards. It works really well, I like it so much I bought the company. That’s a joke, and people of a certain age will get it. Actually I like it so much I’m a beta tester, which means I get new versions early to test and report any bugs to Waze
However good Waze, it will get you to your destination via the quickest route, even if it means going through people’s gardens. OK, I exaggerate, BUT it will take you down any road that a car can legally travel. Which is great, I’ve lost count the amount of housing estates I’ve been through in order to miss traffic, you learn to just have faith and follow the directions. I don’t, however, want to do this with my caravan on the back!
What Do I Use When Towing?
I use a mix of two apps on my phone.
We plan our routes around France via the ViaMichelin website this gives us a good idea of where we need to go. We like to avoid altitude driving, we had a bad experience driving over the Central Massif driving at over 1000m caused us nausea, you might be ok, but we avoid it.
ViaMichelin app and website are very useful and we have used the app once on the motorways, but, as with Waze it doesn’t allow for the fact that you’re towing a caravan, at least not whilst driving. It will estimate times and will alter these if you say you’re towing a caravan, at least on the website anyway.
So, the name tells you everything you need to know right? I have a caravan and I want to navigate – result! So, what makes this different from an ordinary Sat Nav systems? Well, the app lets you enter the details of your caravan (or motorhome) such as length, width and height. The idea being that the software will take this into account when planning the route on your behalf.
It’s very easy to use, although as always there’s room for improvement. The graphics could be better, but that’s really a person thing with me, it just looks a bit dated.
Entering Caravan / MotorHome Details
Having just said it’s easy to use, entering caravan / motorhome dimensions isn’t all that obvious. So here’s how to do it.
This is the first screen you get when starting the app. Select New Destination (I know, strange, you select this to set it up)
Next you select the “routing” icon at the bottom (second from left)
Then select Vehicle Routing Profiles
Then top right select “New”
After this select Car, Caravan, (Motorhome) etc from the screen above.
Then from the screen below select “Caravan Dimensions” this is also used for Motorhomes
Then enter your details :
Hit the back button and save, you can give it a name, ours is Cartagena, as rather unoriginally this is the model of our caravan!
If You Don’t Use A Mobile Phone?
There are plenty of options for Caravan Sat Navs on Amazon, if you want a dedicated unit, or don’t use a mobile phone.
|1||Aguri Motorhome & Caravan RV520 DVR EU Sat Nav*||30 Reviews||£199.99||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Garmin Camper 770LMT-D 6.95 Inch Sat Nav with Full Europe Lifetime Maps, Free Lifetime Digital...||55 Reviews||£298.12||Buy on Amazon|
|3||TomTom Camper Sat Nav, 6 Inch, with Updates Via Wi-Fi, Camper and Caravan POIs, Worldwide Lifetime...||20 Reviews||£354.00||Buy on Amazon|
|4||Aguri Motorhome & Caravan RV720 DVR EU 7" Sat Nav.*||16 Reviews||£259.99||Buy on Amazon|
|5||Garmin 010-01535-01 Camper 660LMT-D 6 inch Satellite Navigation with UK and Full Europe Lifetime...||59 Reviews||£245.96||Buy on Amazon|
|6||TomTom Go Professional 620 GPS Truck Sat Nav with Full European Lifetime Maps and Traffic Services...||159 Reviews||£289.95||Buy on Amazon|
In an ideal world I’d like to be able to enter my caravan size into Waze, but it doesn’t support it. So, for now I’m using a mix of ViaMichelin and CoPilot. ViaMichelin is great for planning routes and CoPilot helps avoid small roads. Of course, CoPilot has tried to take me down a road that I consider to small, however, the caravan would have fitted down the road, but I wouldn’t have been able to turn around, or rather any on coming traffic would have been a problem, so you still need your wits about you.
What I did last year, going to the South Of France was to plan the overall route on ViMichelin website, make sure CoPilot took us a similar route. I use CoPilot if I think there’s likely to be some narrow roads, but ViaMichelin is good enough for motorway driving.
At the end of the day you can just use CoPilot as most of the time it does a good enough job.
*Last update on 2019-02-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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