Before You Order GPS With a Rental Car

Optional GPS units are not all created equal

GPS navigational system on dashboard of car
Rebecca Nelson / Getty Images

If you are traveling and don't know your way around a city, an in-car GPS unit comes in handy. They aren't standard in most rental cars, but you can request them, usually for an extra fee. With clear navigation instructions, you make the most of your time, whether traveling for business or pleasure. In most cases, you specify that you want the GPS option when you reserve a car, whether you book online or over the phone.

Hertz NeverLost

Hertz takes its GPS services one step beyond other rental car companies with the Hertz NeverLost system. The Neverlost Navigator+ is available in most major markets, while the NeverLost Magellan GPS is available in all other markets. The NeverLost Navigator+ is a portable smartphone-like system that includes GPS driving instructions, travel guides, a language translator, and real-time ETA. Domestic and international calling and Wi-Fi are available for an additional fee. The NeverLost Magellan GPS provides directions, hands-free calling, travel guides, and a portable walking mode. The NeverLost service is available by reservation when you book a vehicle.

Avis where2

The Avis where2 system uses Garmin GPS receivers to help you find hotels, restaurants, and businesses. They provide traffic alerts in more than 100 cities and alternative routing to always give you the quickest route. Avis's Garmin unit features hands-free calling capability as long as your phone has Bluetooth. It also supplies turn-by-turn verbal directions.

Avis where2 lets you plan your trip online in advance by downloading your agenda to a secure SSD memory card. You insert the card into your where2 unit when you pick up the car. Request the where2 when you book your vehicle and travel confidently in a new city. There is a charge for the service.

National

National offers rental GPS units based on the popular Garmin GPS devices. These receivers feature a simple touch-screen interface with automatic route calculation to any destination. Text-to-voice provides spoken directions, and the navigator includes detailed maps and points of interest such as hotels, gas stations, restaurants, ATMs and tourist destinations.

The receivers also include a one-touch rental return directions feature for easy car return. GPS units are additional equipment and are available for a fee.

Enterprise

Enterprise's GPS navigation systems offer a customized version of the Garmin 265W. This GPS unit includes text-to-speech directions and hands-free calling with Bluetooth technology. Most Enterprise airport locations offer the GPS system, or it can be reserved any time with a car reservation. There is an extra per-day charge for the unit.

Budget and Alamo

Budget and Alamo both offer the Garmin where2 system (same as Avis) for an optional per-day charge. Visit the Budget or Alamo website for more information. 

All the major car rental agencies provide some type of optional GPS service, but they aren't all the same. Most GPS units are reserved when you book your vehicle, and there isn't always a lot of information available before then. A quick call to the car rental location should give you specific answers to your GPS availability questions.