If you’ve never heard of multi-point routing, or route optimization, take a moment to read on before you buy that new GPS.
GPS units for your car will be one of the hottest gadgets this season (as they were last season and will be next season). Once you’ve used a car GPS, you will never want to drive without one. The most popular GPS brand in the U.S. today is Garmin, followed by TomTom and Magellan, and you can find numerous models, many in the $100-$200 range that will do an excellent job getting you from point A to point B.
You can spend a little bit more for features like traffic based routing (which often comes with a monthly subscription), voice recognition, spoken street names, Bluetooth, and so forth. But there’s one feature that may convince you to spend a bit more. It’s called multi-point routing, multi-destination routing or route optimization.
You see, while it’s true that any GPS will get you from point A to point B, in real life many of us find ourselves combining destinations. We have to go from A to E by way of B, C and D. You might be going on several errands. You might be a carpool parent who has to pick up or drop off kids from several different homes. You might be seeking out multiple garage sales. You might be in a business that involves visiting multiple sites or stores or offices. In each case, you have to decide on the best route that allows you to go to all of those destinations in the shortest time or distance.
Frankly, I can live without the traffic updates – I can tune my radio for those. I don’t need the GPS to name streets – I can read them off the screen. But I won’t ever buy a GPS without multi-point routing. I use it constantly.
The high-end Garmin units are where you go for this feature – you’ll find it in the Nuvi 750 and higher. The Nuvi 760 is one of the more popular units with this feature.