Best travel GPS

Last Updated: 15.11.19


What are the best travel GPS units in 2019?


If you’re particularly short on time to read information about the best travel GPS on the market, this short paragraph should provide everything you need to know. We have gone over plenty of actual user feedback to check how well the products touted as the best GPS for sale can do against the competition. Thanks to the meticulous research and product comparisons, we have been able to find what consumers consider the best one in this category, the Garmin Nuvi 57LM. The dual-orientation display of this easy-to-use dedicated GPS navigator enables you to view information on the screen in either a horizontal or a vertical alignment for comfortable reading. The 5-inch display is large enough for the effortless reading of the preloaded detailed maps of the lower 49 US states. The purchase of this model entitles you to free lifetime map updates so you never travel with a map that does not have the right information, which is critical considering that new roads are constantly being built and dozens more being renamed with time. The Garmin Real Directions guide you like a friend by employing the landmarks and traffic lights so you can make timely direction changes and not be caught moving round and round in unfamiliar territory. Because there is a high likelihood that the Garmin Nuvi 57LM would be out of stock because of its popularity, we definitely recommend the second best option, the Garmin Nuvi 2589LMT.



Comparison Table


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A short buying guide


In this day and age, there’s simply no excuse for getting lost even in unfamiliar places thanks to the continued popularity of GPS devices. Whether you are on the road or in the water, there’s a host of GPS devices to choose from. What differentiates a good travel GPS from a lousy navigation device?

The best GPS for travel keeps track of traffic


Real-time traffic information is highly valuable for people who prefer to keep a routine on routes they take on their errands or commute. A navigation system should enable you to avoid accidents, road closures, as well as speed traps.

It is to be noted, however, that although portable GPS units offer greater functionality with traffic reporting, the technology has not been perfected yet. This means traffic reporting can either be inaccurate or slow and not real-time. Real-time traffic is offered by phone apps that provide a peek into images gathered by traffic cameras, which also enable you to get crowd-sourced tips on bottlenecks and detours.


The products that get highly rated in the best travel GPS reviews offer a dependable performance


In order to get the best availability and timeliness of any map updates, you want the GPS unit to feature a high-sensitivity receiver to ensure the device actually knows what road you are on. While plenty of travel GPS devices provide audible or spoken directions, they are not all created equal. Some models are equipped with text-to-speech technology, which enables the device to read out actual street names and which is great when you are traveling in an unfamiliar location. Some units issue unintelligible directions so you can barely hear what is being said.

Aside from traffic updates, you might want to enjoy such nifty features as active lane assist/guidance, 3D map view, points of interest, and junction view. Find out if the device comes with lifetime map updates and if they are free or available for a recurring fee. You wouldn’t want to be saddled with heavy fees for map updates considering the expected lifetime of the device.

Navigation should be easy with the device. You should be able to input the destination or say it out loud and the device should issue the most helpful directions. You want a fast, intuitive, and smart interface.


You want a good combination of stamina and size in the best GPS for road trips


The battery should be able to hold a charge for at least two hours, which is very important for travel.

An overly small screen can make it difficult to make out map details and other critical information on it. That said, if you’d like to bring the device in your suitcase, a handheld model is your best option. You may go for a unit with a 4.7-inch screen, although a 4-inch display is a good compromise.



5 Best Travel GPS Units (Updated Reviews) in 2019



It is not quite easy to find the best travel GPS for sale but the above buying guide should have enough useful information for the earnest buyer. We may not be electronics experts but consumers have found the following products to be top choices and we can’t help but agree.



1. Garmin Nuvi 57LM


The Garmin Nuvi 57LM is an easy-to-use, dedicated GPS navigator that will make every road travel less stressful. The device features a five-inch display that lets you see any critical information easily. The screen can also be made to display the information in a portrait or landscape orientation to guarantee a comfortable viewing according to your needs.

This GPS device comes preloaded with detailed maps of the lower 48 states. What is even more exciting is how the buyer is entitled to receive free lifetime map updates so the cartographic data is always fresh and functional, with less likelihood of having outdated data that is useless and exasperating.

The exclusive Garmin Real Directions help you find the right destination thanks to how the unit guides you like a friend using traffic lights and landmarks. What’s more, you can find new and popular restaurants, shops, and more utilizing valuable Foursquare data. With the Direct Access feature, navigation is greatly simplified so you can find your way to select complex destinations such as airports and malls.

The Up Ahead feature allows you to find places easily, such as food and gas stations, without leaving the map. The Lane Assist with Junction View shows you upcoming junctions and employs brightly-colored arrows to show the proper lane.



This Garmin model offers good user interface, with a 5-inch screen to ensure that maps and words will be legible enough and a dual mode portrait or landscape orientation to fit the user’s preferred perspective.

It comes with a Real Directions feature, which uses landmarks and stoplights to provide directions, in the same intuitive way a human would.

The Foursquare and Up Ahead functions allow the user to search for potential objects of interest or utilities nearby, such as restaurants, shops, gas stations. Foursquare deals with a whole general area, while Up Ahead only provides data for places on route.

The Lane Assist and Junction View functions are meant to improve the user’s situational awareness when confronted with complex intersections and multi-lane roads.



Some users found the Base Camp software hard to work with. Given the product’s high complexity, it is to be expected that some functions might not work perfectly.

Buy from for ($169.99)




2. Garmin Nuvi 2589LMT


With its 5-inch, pinch-to-zoom display, the Garmin Nuvi 2589LMT simplifies guided navigation for the modern traveler. The dual-orientation display allows you to view the display in either a portrait or landscape configuration to best suit your needs or preference. This ensures a comfortable means of viewing the information on the screen.

The detailed maps of North America enable you to navigate your way worry-free during travels or out-of-town trips. This device comes with free lifetime map updates so the cartographical information is fresh and not outdated or useless. The traffic avoidance feature is highly useful for those who tend to follow a specific route during their daily commute.

Guided by Foursquare data, you can easily find new and popular restaurants, shops, and other commercial establishments so you are never out of the circuit. This device leverages Bluetooth technology to facilitate hands-free calling. You won’t have to reach for your phone when a call comes in or when you need to call someone since the GPS device can be used as your dial pad.

Thanks to the state-of-the-art voice navigation software, this device lets you simply tell it what you want to find so you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. You also get Free Lifetime Traffic Avoidance with the driving map kept onscreen at all times, with spoken messages and traffic alerts to the side of the map.



It has very friendly, easy to read graphics on a relatively large 5 inch, pinch to zoom display. You can select between two viewing modes, portrait and landscapes, for the most comfortable user experience.

It comes straight out of the box with detailed maps covering all the 48 lower states, so you won’t need any expensive updates in order to enjoy a round the country trip.

Garmin also offers a limited number of free lifetime map updates, allowing the user to keep more or less up to speed with the latest changes in the road network without having to pay extra.

Probably the most interesting money-saving feature is the free lifetime traffic avoidance, which provides the user with crowd sourced traffic information free of charge.

It also features common Garmin features such as Foursquare and Direct Access.



While highly appreciated for its large size, the screen seems to be very reflective. This could be solved with proper positioning, however.

Buy from for ($299.99)




3. TomTom VIA 1515M


Allowing you to explore a new way of navigation, the TomTom VIA 1515M is a cutting-edge travel tool that features Free Lifetime Map Updates for consistent functionality and dependable service. This GPS device has a five-inch screen that delivers a better and easier view every time, so you can find the information you need onscreen fast and easy.

This simple device ensures that every journey is safe, stress-free, and enjoyable so you can get to your destination with fewer hassles and more energy for exploration. The easy-to-use device comes with TomTom Lifetime Map Updates so your cartographic data is not stale. The IQ Routes and Map Share technology ensure that you stay updated with active road changes and closures.

The included maps cover the US, Canada, and Mexico so you can travel everywhere and not worry about finding your way around. You also receive 4 or more full, downloadable map updates every year, which covers just about any new road construction or renaming. The innovative Split Screen Junction View lets you look at two views simultaneously.

You also never miss an exit because, at a single glance, you have a view of road signs supplemented with arrows that show you the exit to go for. The bigger screen size provides enough resolution for clear views.



This TomTom model has a large 5-inch display and good graphics which allow you to easily tell what’s going on without having to concentrate on the monitor.

The travel time is calculated with input from a constantly updating crowdsourced data base. IQ Routes will help you get the latest travel times submitted by other users for the route you are considering.

A very welcomed ease of life feature, Advanced Lane Guidance gives accurate indications on the right lane to take when negotiating complex junctions.

Tom Tom offers unusually extensive map coverage, which includes most of the North American continent — the US, Canada, and Mexico. You also get four full free map updates a year to keep you up to date at a minimal cost.



Many users found its response time to be rather sluggish. However, this only seems to be a complaint with particularly aggressive drivers.

Buy from for ($89.99)




4. Garmin Drive 50 USA LM GPS Navigator System 


This Garmin model comes with plenty of features that make it a reliable tool to have within your car, no matter if you drive around the city or if you are planning to take a long road trip. Given that safety is the most important thing, this navigator comes with special features such as a driver alert to increase awareness in various situations. 

These warnings can be used for speed changes, sharp curves, as well as for animal or railroad crossings you might encounter on your route. Furthermore, the developed map system it comes with alerts you in case you find yourself driving in the wrong way, which is particularly helpful when you are not in a city you are familiar with. 

Other types of alerts are available as well, to help you have a more comfortable ride, such as those for speed cameras or red lights. 



In case you are planning a longer drive, then you might also use the fatigue warning that does a great job of suggesting break times, as well as rest areas on your way. 

This unit comes with an Up Ahead feature that allows you to see what comes next on your route without needing to leave the map view in order to do this. 

The preloaded data the GPS comes with adds a wide range of popular and new points of interest, such as restaurants or stores. 

Thanks to the 480 x 272-pixel resolution, you won’t have a hard time reading the map, while the battery can power the GPS for up to 1 hour. 



If you are looking for a particular address, the GPS doesn’t show on which side of the street this is located. 

This is not a waterproof model, in case you are thinking about using it for a motorcycle ride as well. 

Buy from for ($112.98)




5. Garmin Drive 51 USA LMT-S GPS Navigator System 


If what you need is an easy-to-use GPS, then this Garmin model that also includes a lot of useful features is certainly an excellent option you can go for. One of the key aspects that set it apart from other similar units is the alerts system that keeps the driver aware in various specific situations one can encounter on the road. 

Furthermore, there are also multiple locations preloaded from TripAdvisor that you can use to find everything you might possibly need along the way. In terms of functionalities, you are surely going to be very pleased by the 5-inch display that also has dual-orientation capability. The unit comes equipped with preloaded lifetime maps that you can use all around the United States.

Thanks to the user-friendly software, this Navigator is compatible with both Mac OS and Windows XP and newer systems, while it can also provide real-time functionalities, such as Live parking or Live traffic information. 



The alerts system included can be used in multiple situations, including for speed changes, railroad and animal crossings, dangerous curves or speed cameras. 

Thanks to the Real Directions feature, you won’t have to take your eyes off the road to know which way you need to go, as the easy-to-understand indications will be there for you to listen. 

There’s also a Direct Access feature that simplifies navigation around complex destinations such as airports or malls. 

You can also use the parking information stored within the device, which employs historical data to help you find the nearest parking that you can use next to your destination. 



The touch screen might need some getting used to, as the responsiveness is a bit lower compared to that of smartphones. 

There are no instructions delivered with the unit, but the user’s manual can be found on Garmin’s website. 

Buy from for ($119.99)




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