Navigation System in Foreign Countries

Detailed Road Map ItalyHelpful Car Rental Navigation Tips

We were on a road trip from Zurich, Switzerland to Sorrento, Italy and back again to drop the rental car before heading to Belgium, the Netherlands and then the UK. The trip south we are winging it for hotel reservations and where we would plant our driving tired bodies for the night. We just drove till we were tired.

Outside Milan our Nissan car navigation system started taking us east for no apparent reason at all. I think we drove an hour in the dark passing towns I didn’t even remember the names of.  Finally, after another half hour (I was way past tired and hungry) the compass still pointing toward eastern lands, I was feeling a tad (capped out on being nice about adventuring) and uneasy driving around in dark scrappy uninhabited (uncharted by us) territories. I asked Scott (in a very nice tone) to PLEASE retrieve the iPhone, and pay the roaming charges for our backup “working” navigation system!

Thank goodness he did not fight me on the “high use” charges this time. Of course it worked (the iPhone always does), and needless to say, we were wayyyyy off course. We pulled a 180 and hopped back on the “main” A1 highway (heading south) which I had seen ten minutes prior, as we speedily passed it in the pitch darkness of night in some unnamed unknown Italian countryside.

Had it not been dark out, we probably would have said something along the lines of, “Oh how beautiful, or look, this is kind of rustic and rugged area!” But no, I wasn’t feeling so happy wonderful after driving seven hours and needing to eat and find water! Thank the goddesses, thirty-seven minutes down the highway – we found Modena!  Or, better yet, Modena found us.

Either the car navigation system was on bad transmission drugs, or there was something seriously wrong with the programming. Well, come to find out the next morning, the programming on the car navigation system was programmed wrong. One of us had figured out how to change the language to English from German, yet that same one of us, had forgotten to check if we were traveling on main highways and not AVOIDING ALL TOLL ROADS! AAAAHHHHH.

Moral of the story is: check the programming on all navigation devices before departures. Oh how I wished I had my old-fashioned Thomas Guide or old-fashioned paper maps for my Europe. Made me crave old time navigation tenfold. All I wanted to see that night were lines on my big unfolded (permanently creased from years of overuse) Italian road map.

Check the NAVI when in foreign countries (before departures) and don’t forget to laugh at yourself if you puck it up (or laugh with your travel buddy).


Definition of Urban Backpacker:

1. Of, relating to, or located in a city.

2. Backpacker redefined: Artful reviews that lead you from hidden budget gems to five-star destinations helping you find palate pleasing adventure, enjoyment, and story collection.

3. Pack bag. Travel there. See city. Eat food. Respect culture. Take picture. Share story. Be thankful. Repeat.