Every traveller knows that a good sat nav can mean the difference between a smooth, enjoyable journey and one where you wish you’d just stayed at home. So, if you’re looking to invest in a new sat nav for your motorhome or you’re a first-time buyer, you’re in the right place.
This guide on everything you need to know about motorhome GPS will help you make the right choice for you and your fellow travellers. We’ll look at how motorhome GPS differs from sat nav products for cars. We’ll also explore how these handy contraptions work and what you can expect to pay. Finally, we'll outline some features to consider when choosing your GPS product and offer recommendations for motorhome sat navs to suit every budget. Let’s begin.
How do motorhome sat navs work?
Motorhome sat navs use GPS (global positioning system) to plot the best route from A to B and provide you with clear instructions every step of the way. The GPS satellite receivers can ascertain your position on Earth to within 10 metres. This is then matched up with digital maps and presented to you on a screen.
Motorhome sat navs are available as integrated systems that are fixed to, or near the car windscreen, usually by a sucker pad. You can also opt for a sat nav phone app which requires a smartphone to download and access. Today’s apps usually work with Android Auto and Apple Carplay.
When deciding which product to go for it’s important to take into account that you will need to have a WiFi or 4g connection to get started using them. Integrated sat navs don't rely on your mobile data or being connected to WiFi. They use GPS signalling so you don't need to worry about losing your data connection, not having enough data or incurring roaming charges when travelling overseas.
If you are travelling outside the UK make sure you check that your country of destination allows phones to be mounted on the dashboard. If it is against the law you could incur costly fines.
How do motorhome sat navs differ from car sat navs?
Motorhome and car sat navs work on pretty much the same principle. The main difference is that motorhome sat navs take the different dimensions and weights of caravans and motorhomes into account. The best motorhome GPS sat navs will help you plan a route that avoids or warns about obstructions such as low bridges, narrow roads or lanes or places where additional vehicle weight will be an issue or certain larger vehicles aren’t allowed.
Useful features to consider when choosing your motorhome sat nav
The best GPS for your motorhome depends on your requirements, the type of vehicle you have, your budget and where you will be travelling. Here are some popular and useful features to consider when choosing your sat nav product.
Every GPS will have a touchscreen but not every product has predictive text. This handy feature can save time, make your journey more hassle-free and should also be safer as you’ll have less need to focus on the screen and more time to keep your eyes on the road.
Advanced lane guidance
Knowing which lane you need to go in ahead of time at a junction or turning is incredibly useful (it may also save some arguments between driver and navigator!). Many sat nav models offer diagrams as well as guidance by voice.
The routing capabilities on today’s sat navs are the stuff of dreams for drivers who want a stress-free journey. Keep an eye out for GPS devices that update your route based on live traffic information and that adapt the recommended route for the time of day you are travelling. They even use machine learning technology to offer a route based on your usual activities at that time of day. For example, your route to work on a Monday morning. The budget-conscious traveller will love the option to avoid toll gates.
Live traffic information
As any driver knows, traffic disruptions can and will occur in seconds. Receiving live traffic updates via your motorhome GPS means you can try to avoid obstructions and get to your destination in the quickest way possible. This feature will usually be available through your mobile phone data. Simply connect your integrated sat nav to your phone app and you’re set.
Generally speaking, these traffic updates will come via your mobile phone data. Your sat nav will connect to the corresponding app on your phone and use it to access the live traffic info. Which brings us neatly on to…
Bluetooth and WiFi can add a whole new dimension to your sat nav. Hands-free calling is a popular use as is access to the aforementioned live traffic updates.
Want to find out more about connectivity while travelling? Check out our blog on motorhome WiFi.
Driving outside the UK can be stressful. Signs in unfamiliar languages, driving on the ‘wrong’ side and different cultural approaches to driving can put even the most confident drivers on edge. If you are hoping to enjoy a motorhome holiday outside the UK, it’s well worth considering an international map functionality. In addition to pointing you in the right direction, they may also be able to alert you to restrooms, or local attractions. It’s always worth a little break on your journey to take in a nice view or try a local snack!
Readers of a certain age might remember Knight Rider and his talking car, Kit. Whether you want to channel Mr Hasselhoff or you simply want to set or adapt your route using voice commands, you’ll love voice recognition capabilities on your motorhome sat nav.
Speed and safety alerts
Drivers can choose to set a range of safety alerts on their sat nav including reminders to rest to avoid fatigue, and warnings for speed cameras. Some even include a graphic with the speed limit so you can prepare in advance.
Points of Interest (POIs)
Sat navs aren’t just about the practicalities. They are also great for alerting you to points of interest along your journeys such as beaches, historical sights, motorhome campsites, parks and places to get refreshments. Of course, it’s also useful to know how far it is to the next service station or car park, too. You can store your POIs in your sat nav and they will then become visible as you get closer.
Recommended sat navs for motorhomes, caravans and campers
As with most types of technology, the more you spend the more features you get. But if you want to control costs it needn’t mean you can’t get bang for your buck. Here are some great choices for motorhome GPS sat navs to suit every budget.
Best budget sat nav for motorhomes
OHREX Sat Nav, 7 inch
Retailing at just shy of £70, the OHREX Sat Nav, 7-inch is an excellent choice for motorhome travellers who want to keep costs to a minimum. Top features include 2D and 3D map views and free lifetime updates. Plus it comes pre-installed with the latest maps for Europe, the UK, and Ireland.
The OHREX’s GPS route planning is fast and accurate and you’ll be offered customised routes to avoid height, weight and width restrictions as well as advanced lane guidance. There’s also a built-in FM transmitter to provide GPS sound to your car stereo.
Find out more about the OHREX Sat Nav, 7 inch with 2022 UK Ireland Maps.
Best sat nav for smaller motorhomes
Garmin Campervan GPS
The Garmin Campervan GPS comes with all the great navigation features offered by the OHREX as well as some tempting additions including the Trendy Places feature which recommends places of interest and attractions on your journey. Similarly, the Roadtrip Route recommends routes for travellers who have time to be a bit more adventurous. There’s even a baked-in campsite directory, too.
Check out the Garmin Campervan GPS
Best high-end motorhome sat nav
If you want a bit more of a bells and whistles sat nav for your motorhome the Garmin Camper 10-90 is an excellent bet. With a 10-inch high-res touchscreen it’s also great for travellers who prefer larger screen sizes. Retailing at around £610-630 the Garmin 10-90 isn’t cheap but it does have some features that will interest travellers who take to the road on a more regular basis including built-in WiFi connectivity, voice control and hands-free calling. It also integrates with the Garmin Drive app giving you access to live fuel prices, traffic and weather updates. Furthermore, the Garmin 10-90 links with TripAdvisor and Foursquare so you can pick eateries, places of interest and other stops on the way based on customer reviews.
As with the Garmin Campervan GPS, you can access campsite directories. With this model, you can also access free map downloads to North America, South America, Australia/New Zealand, the Middle East and North Africa, and South Africa via Garmin Express.
Find out more about the Garmin 10-90
We hope this article on everything you need to know about motorhome GPS has helped you find the right sat nav for your vehicle. Getting the perfect set-up for you and your fellow travellers can take a toll on your finances so why not consider making some money from your vehicle in between holidays? Find out more about hiring out your motorhome for free to Goboony’s trusted customer base today!