With my flight into Belfast less than 24 hours away, I thought I’d better pack my bag and, more importantly, pre-programme my international sat-nav.
Not trusting my sense of direction, not understanding how to use google maps offline and refusing to pay £12 a day to rent a sat nav my piece of kit is a highly value £38 investment from Amazon that I take overseas every time I intend to drive.
On the whole it’s pretty good. It warns me if I’m breaking the speed limit. It’s fairly easy to plan routes in advance and it tells me where to go, as so many other people have over the years.
My driving style overseas is one of total and utter concentration on the road ahead. I’m not one to gaze out across the prairies unless I’m in the only car on the highway. Look at signs? Hell no I might hit the SUV in front! So I tend to rely on passengers to help and in their absence the sat nav.
It usually works, but not always.
Last year’s Yellowstone adventure was its first challenge. On one leg across Colorado it turned a straight forward three hour drive into a six hour journey simply by not realising I’d gone the wrong way. It did recalculate the route so at some point 200 miles away it would have looped us back round, but that would have made the journey ten hours. Not good as my back pain peaked on that trip!
Its ability to predict journey time is also deeply flawed. But somewhere in the settings I assume this can be fixed. Alas, having pressed around 326 different permutations in those settings it still has no idea how to predict arrival time to within 50% accuracy.
Last month’s Montenegran adventure was a complete fail. As I eagerly clambered into my Citroen with expensive wing mirrors I discovered a significant issue. No USB connector to charge it up. And I’d left the cigarette charger and aux cable at home in the name of travelling light. Doh.
So as I head out onto the happy roads of the north bit of the Emerald Isle tomorrow afternoon I’ll keep my fingers crossed that my pre-programmed destinations of Titanic museum, restaurant in Belfast, hotel in Antrim, Giant’s Causeway and my £35 a night B&B are found without drama.
I wonder if I can park for free on a Belfast street?