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The Scenic Route: On The Spot

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

When it comes to peace-of-mind on the road, you might think you’re covered with your emergency road service card and your cell phone. But what about all those places along The Scenic Route —and, don’t kid yourself, there are many—where cell phone signals are unusable or even nonexistent?

Enter the Spot Satellite GPS Messenger. Inside its bright orange case, this pocket-size device puts all sorts of handy satellite communication capabilities at your fingertips. With the push of a button you can do anything from sending a quick “everything’s OK” message to your loved ones via pre-defined email or text messages to summoning help in a life-threatening situation.

The best part is this Spot unit works virtually anywhere you have a clear view of the sky. Simply set it face-up on your dash (you can also take it along while hiking or mountain biking) and you’re covered no matter where you may roam, including those way-off-the-beaten-path places with no cell phone coverage where Murphy’s Law suggests your rig is most likely to break down.

While this emergency contact capability can be a lifesaver on those hopefully rare occasions when you really need it, we’ve found our Spot unit is just as handy in everyday situations. Take the optional Tracking mode, for example, which automatically relays updated location information every 10 minutes and displays it using Google Maps so our family and friends can keep tabs on us during our travels.

US mapThis extra-cost service also allows us to keep a record of our travels over time. Paired with a free account on SpotWalla.com, we can look back and refresh our memories of that especially scenic route we took or the location of that campground we liked so well. As an example, the photo to the right is from one of our recent trips with the green flags representing custom messages we sent to let folks know we were safely stopped for the night.

The unit retails for $120 and the basic Spot service plan runs $100 per year; it’s another $50 annually to add the Tracking feature. While those numbers may seem a little steep to some, for me it’s hard to put a price tag on the peace-of-mind this little device offers.

For a more detailed look at how the Spot unit works, check out this YouTube video.


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