Get a Garmin 4.3-inch GPS with lifetime maps for $76.98
Give your smartphone a break, especially on long trips, and let a dedicated device do the navigating.
Does it still make sense to buy a GPS? If you own a smartphone, the answer would seem to be, "Nah, I'm good." Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze -- there are free apps aplenty that can get you where you're going, no extra hardware required.
Ah, but not everyone owns a smartphone. (I know: shocking!) Even if you do, traveling in rural areas might make it difficult to receive the map data you need. Oh, and what if you need to make/take a call while navigating? Hassle. And do you have a decent windshield mount to keep your phone at eye level? (Safety first!)
In other words, there are plenty of reasons to own a dedicated GPS, especially if you can get one on the cheap. To wit: Amazon has the Garmin Nuvi 40LM 4.3-inch GPS with lifetime maps for $76.98 shipped. Incidentally, I was originally going to plug a refurb of the same model, but it's only about $10 less.
That's not the very best price I've seen for a GPS with lifetime maps, but I just wanted to raise the question of whether anyone is still buying these. (My guess: and how!)
The Nuvi 40LM is your basic 4.3-inch navigator, with features like Lane Assist and a speed-limit indicator to help you avoid tickets. But its best asset by far: lifetime map updates courtesy of Garmin. (That includes POI updates as well, though I suspect your phone will always have the edge in that department.)
CNET hasn't reviewed this model, but over 1,700 (!) Amazon buyers rated it 4.3 stars on average. And over at Walmart (where it's the same price, though with sales tax on top), customers collectively rated it 4.5 stars.
Even with our smartphones at the ready, Mrs. Cheapskate and I still rely on a dash-mount GPS like this one when we're driving into unfamiliar territory. There's much to be said for having a dedicated navigator in the car.
Bonus deal: Last-minute Mother's Day gift idea! For a limited time, Outdoor Tech has the OT Adapt Bluetooth adapter (pink!) for $19.95 shipped. Regular price: $39.95. You'll see the discount upon adding it to your cart, and sales tax should disappear once you enter your shipping info. The Adapt adds Bluetooth (and microphone) capabilities to any device with a 3.5mm audio jack. (No guarantee it'll actually arrive in time for Mother's Day, alas. But a picture might suffice!)
Bonus deal No. 2: It's rare to find deals on an iPod Touch unless you're shopping for refurbs (a totally cromulent option, by the way). But here's one: today only, Staples has the fifth-gen iPod Touch (16GB) for $179 shipped (plus tax where applicable), a savings of $50. Even better, grab the iPod Touch (32GB) in your choice of colors for $224, a savings of $75. Frankly, I think Apple should have cut prices on these long ago, but, so help me, I still think this is the best non-phone pocket gizmo on the planet.