The wrong navigation tool can have you spend hours going in the wrong direction. We've tried a variety of navigation tools and apps. These are the few that are worth mentioning. Also, if you need a break from driving, remember that some cities have Uber! If you use the code below, you'll get $5 off your first 4 rides if you use it within 90 days of signing up.
Without question, one of our best purchasing decisions. You know all of those family members who think you're nuts for traveling in Latin America and told your mom that you would come home in a body bag? This will help them all sleep at night. So many days, we have not had any phone or internet service and no way of checking in with anyone to let them know our location. Sometimes, we found ourselves so far off grid that our location didnt even show up on a map. With the Inreach and a low-cost monthly plan, we have been able to send our coordinates and a message to any contact we choose (or to facebook) from anywhere. We were also able to embed our current location on a map on on this site. It gives everyone, including us, peace of mind and provides a cool way of tracking our trip.
In terms of phone choices, the Google Fi was a total experiment and risk. We have not regretted it. The fi service has been pretty consistent everywhere we have been, with only a few exceptions (and for those places, we got a sim card like everyone else). It is affordable and great when all of our other devices can't connect to a network. Although the phone itself is a bit large (especially for a woman's hand), its big screen is nice for navigation and this thing takes FANTASTIC photos. It does a better job in low-light than our Sony and has a particular ability with sunsets.
iOverlander is our favorite app while on the road. It has a ton of information about campsites, hotels, wild-camping spots, secret hot springs, police or military checkpoints, where to get your propane or water, etc. VERY useful information that is updated on a regular basis by ourselves and other overlanders.
This app has been useful because it allows us to download offline maps for each country we are travelling in. There is no perfect mapping app and they seem to work differently in each country.
Waze is fantastic in Central America IF you are connected to the internet. It does not currently allow you to download offline versions, but it's great for navigating through the cities because of it's real-time information. Also if you get your directions while you are connected then it will keep those directions even if you lose service if you do not stop the navigation.
Also, if you need a break from driving, remember that some cities have Uber! If you use the code below, you'll get $5 off your first 4 rides if you use it within 90 days of signing up.