Is it necessary to pay extra for navigation when renting a car in the US?

This is a relatively straightforward question. I’m scheduled to visit the US in a couple of weeks. It’s been around 15 years since I’ve been there, and I don’t remember much as my parents had taken care of most of the work back then.

I want to rent a car in Las Vegas so that I can drive to the Grand Canyon and back. I noticed that they have an option to pay extra to add a GPS system. Is this necessary? I suppose the reason I’m asking is because (at least in my home country of Korea) everyone uses their phones and navigation apps (e.g. Google Maps, Kakao Maps, T-Map, etc.)

Are there any details that I’m unaware of that may cause adding on the navigation to be more beneficial? Thanks in advance.

Answer

If you have a modern phone, you don’t need to rent the GPS with the car. Just install a navigation app that supports offline maps (this includes Google Maps these days but there are others), and download the proper maps in advance. I usually have a second app as backup.

The only minor inconvenience is that you need a mount (I use a cheap generic one bought at a dollar store) and have the charger cable in the car to keep the phone connected. Any car you rent (with possibly the exception of a very cheap compact) will have a usb port to plug it in.

As mentioned in the comments, it is important to have offline maps anyway, since it is unlikely to have cell coverage in the area of the Grand Canyon. As an example, here is the coverage by AT&T (blue is LTE, green is other AT&T, yellow is roaming):

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