Getting to the first hotel in Weinheim

Upon arrival at Frankfurt, we’d picked up the rental car and driven the 64km from the airport to Weinheim in slightly less than an hour. Thanks to the GPS, finding the hotel was a breeze.

This is the first time I’m using a TomTom GPS and so far so good. The GO 750 is easy to use and the turn by turn navigation for the dedicated GPS device is clear and timely.

NH Hotel Weinheim

NH Hotel Weinheim, a good base to explore Mannheim, Schwetzingen, Heidelberg and the surrounding region. Photo from www.nh-hotels.com

I remember the first time I’d used a GPS years ago, the voice instructions came so late I frequently missed turnings.

What does one look for in a navigational GPS device? Here are some things I look out for from my own experience.

  • Good database so that the hotel or sight you’re looking for is in the map data. Good road database also helps in planning a good route from start point to destination. I had this GPS in the past that repeatedly tried to direct me to enter an expressway by driving into a one-way EXIT from the expressway. I had to take things into my own hads and figure out how to get onto that expressway in France.
  • Good user interface so you can find that hotel or sight and select it for navigation. The “point of interest” (POI) is only useful only if you can dig it out from the map data. I’ve used devices in the past where I tore my hair out just to locate a specific hotel to get to but can’t find it – only to discover later that it was in the database after all. I couldn’t find it because I didn’t have the exact address down to the door number. Then again, in Japan you can just key in the phone number of that establishment, and the GPS gives you the location and route to that specific hotel or sight.
  • Intelligent route planning to give you the shortest or fastest or least congested (based on live traffic data) route, with quick adjustment of the route should you make a wrong turn. Again the GPS that came with the rental car in Japan was exemplary, it was dead accurate on estimating time of arrival – after taking into account the traffic congestions along the way.
Nice spacious rooms with plenty of power outlets.

Nice spacious rooms with plenty of power outlets. www.nh-hotels.com

Pre-planning

While still on the flight, I keyed in the six hotels that we are going to stay in for this vacation and saved them as my personal “Favourites”. It was a breeze on the GO 750. By simply keying in the postal code, the menu gave a list of streets to choose from. You can then type in the house number if you had it.

TomTom GO 750 dedicated turn-by-turn navigational GPS

TomTom GO 750 dedicated turn-by-turn navigational GPS

It helped that I had consolidated all the full addresses of the hotels in a summary sheet, so that I didn’t have to rifle through reams of booking vouchers to find the addresses of the hotels.

By the way, in that summary, I find it useful to include other pertinent information like prices, phone numbers, check-in dates and time.

Having stored the hotel as a POI, I could set it as the destination the moment I got into the car and drive off. Rather than start fiddling with the GPS in the confines of the car park.

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