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The Best GPS Navigation System - My Garmin Nuvi 250W

Updated on September 2, 2013

Not Just Any GPS Will Do Now

I didn't always love my Garmin Nuvi 250W. It started out that way. What guy doesn't like cool toys to play with. But it wasn't long lasting. We used the navigation system all the time in the old truck. It was quirky but got us where we had to go - if it was on the map. With roads changing all the time in our growing area, some of the time we were traveling on roads that didn't appear on the GPS. Of course when that happened the unit was always trying to recalculate. My better half complained about the voice being irritating and I had to agree.

When it was new back in 2008, it was top of the line. Today it is a discontinued model but you can still get map upgrades as well as other things. Garmin still supports it and that is what I like. Long after it was flagged as discontinued, they sent me a notice for a battery recall and all I had to do was send the unit in with the prepaid sticker they mailed me. That is good customer service. So when I decide my Nuvi is not the best anymore, you can bet I'll be purchasing another Garmin GPS.

How To Update My Garmin GPS

Every month there seems to be a new model of Nuvi by Garmin. That is what it feels like anyway. Every time I go into a store that sells GPS navigation units I am drawn to the Garmins straight away. Each time I seem to pick up a new model. There are so many different models with different features, you are bound to find one to suit you.

Have no worry's that the support will stop because that is not the Garmin way. I still have my 250W upgraded with a simple free software program - Garmin Express. Not only can you update your maps but you can also download new vehicle images for your pointer. And my favorite - new voices.

Downloading a new voice into my old Nuvi has given me back my Garmin GPS to me. I first discovered them when I was upgrading my maps. There were 4 new voice files I could download for free.

Yeti, Elfred, Dr. Nightmare, Team Garmin’s Dave Zabriskie and Squirrely. I tried Dr. Nightmare first it was the same old boring turn-by-turn directions but in a B movie horror voice. Scratched that one. Yeti was funny only because it was unintelligible. That was a no go. Elfred was creepy. It didn't last long. Squirrely lasted the longest (and I am glad to ) only because it sounded like someone jacked up on caffeine and breathing helium. It lasted long enough to show it unique quality. Not only was it a funny voice but it did more than just the turn-by-turn. It has a whole slew of random side comments that it throws out when you are not turning. They keep me entertained when on the long straight hauls.

If you have a Garmin Nuvi then you have to download the Garmin Express and update you maps and download some free voices. Just answer the questions and connect your Garmin GPS to the computer via the USB cable and you let the software do the work.

How I Use My Garmin GPS

Many people I talk to have some sort of GPS navigation in their car and they never use it to it's full functionality. Most people plug in a destination and let it take them there. Some have them but complain when the GPS takes them down a route they don't know or they say they can get there faster via a route they know better.

I say use the tool as it is meant to be used and you'll be happier. Until I got the Squirrely voice I turned the sound off because it was annoying. There was this long trip I was taking and I missed the turnoff because the voice was turned off, so I make exceptions for long trips, but city trips I usually turn off the voice because I just need the general directions to head to and take my own route usually. I follow the instructions when I am close to a destination I don't know. It hasn't failed me yet.

Make sure you follow the instructions on setting up your GPS. You can tailor the settings to the way you want it to work. My old model 250W doesn't have Bluetooth or wifi but I can set the unit to get me to my destination by either the shortest or the fastest route. Try your options they do make a difference.

I also recently found out the way to do multiple waypoints though on my old GPS it is limited in that sense. The newer models have better and more features so you can customize your GPS to the way you wish to use it. With Multiple waypoints you can plan a route that follows a chain of points you wish to see that may take a vastly different route than if your were going point A to destination. Plan a scenic route with waypoints.

You can further customize your GPS with added features. There is free software at the Garmin website that allows you to make custom Points of Interest or POI's. I've loaded all the known or favorite rest stops between Alberta And BC for our long trips visiting family and such. Knowing this in advance allows you ( and the GPS) to calculate travel times on route. This is one of the key features to me using a GPS. Most of the time I know where I am going so it's not the directions I am needing, but the ETA to that destination. We are forever stopping to look at neat features, or taking pictures of animals we see en route so having a device tell us the estimated time of arrival is awesome.

There is also a free down-load for making your own voice-overs. This I plan to try. We were thrilled when we found the Squirrely voice not because it was a funny sound but because it gave us more than just directions - it entertained as well. It would pop up with random comments like " My cousin is a Gopher" or "Do you think the next gas station sells walnuts". You don't get the comic relief from the default GPS voice.

What I would like to see in a GPS is a feature that tells you asides along the trip. If you were passing close to a historic POI then say a sentence about it as were are driving. It would be a great use to me anyway. We miss so much driving from Point A to Point B.

All Photos in this lens are mine except for those supplied by Amazon and E-Bay
All Photos in this lens are mine except for those supplied by Amazon and E-Bay

It is important to register your purchases with the company for future support. Garmin sent me a recall notice years after they discontinued my model of GPS because I was registered. It is worth it. I got a free battery upgrade - they even sent me a postage paid mailing label to send my unit in.

I Love/Hate My GPS

Do You Love/Hate Your GPS

This lens won the Purple Star Award. I think that is awesome... I hope you do too. Thanks everyone.

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    • Northerntrials profile image

      Northerntrials 4 years ago

      @favored: They are more than just a device that nags you when you made a wrong turn. :)

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      I don't have a GPS, but am considering one. Learning more about them has helped. I appreciate this information.