10 useful road trip apps
Hit the highway with confidence thanks to programs that locate rest areas, gas stations and more.
Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 04:48 PM
Your route is mapped out, the car has been checked and the snacks are packed. As road-trip-ready as you may be, there are always a few things that are out of your control — like which gas station has the best prices, where to get the cheapest eats and how far away the next rest stop is. To help, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite on-the-go mobile apps. From apps that pinpoint essential stops to those that designate entertaining detours, these applications will pave the way for a fun, worry-free trip.
Save a tree — and a few bucks — by skipping printed coupons and using Meal Ticket when dining on the road. The app not only alerts users of coupons and discounts for nearby restaurants, it also shows ratings and reviews of the establishments so you're guaranteed a good deal and a good meal. And saving couldn't be easier: Just bring your phone with you and show them the offer to redeem it. Free; available for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android-powered devices. For more information, click here and here.
Get the best price per gallon around by using GasBuddy, an app based on the popular website that displays nearby gas station prices, allowing users to choose the most affordable option in the area. You can also earn points by reporting updated gas prices for a chance to win a $250 gas card. Being frugal has never been so much fun! Free; available for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, BlackBerry, and Android- and Windows-powered devices. For more information, click here, here and here.
Take the mystery out of visiting a new town with the Where To? mobile app. It can locate nearby bank branches, drugstores, restaurants and more, providing driving directions to whatever destination you select. It also has a neat feature called “Shake to Surprise,” which is what it sounds like (shake your phone and get a random listing) — perfect for when you’re hungry but have no idea what you feel like eating. $2.99; available for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. For more information, click here.
Watching travel-themed food shows may get you in the mood for culinary adventure, but how often do you actually remember the restaurants the hosts visited once you've hit the road? The TV Diner app lists restaurants that have been featured on popular shows like "Man v. Food," "Throwdown with Bobby Flay," and "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." Map your route based on where you want to eat — that way you’ll be guaranteed a lunch worth stopping for. And no need to worry about missing the latest spots; the app stays up-to-date by adding restaurants as new episodes air. $3.99; available for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. For more information, click here.
Make the most of your trip by visiting unique regional monuments and museums along the way. Whether you're intrigued by the World's Largest Ball of Twine or the Museum of Woodcarving, you can break up the monotony of a long drive by exploring one-of-a-kind attractions with Roadside America. The app even provides directions and detailed information so you won't get lost on your detour. $2.99; available for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. For more information, click here.
Rest Area Finder
A long car ride usually calls for several relaxing breaks to stretch your legs and use the restroom, or enjoy a beautiful view. You can do both effortlessly with Rest Area Finder. The app displays nearby rest areas as well as scenic views and welcome centers for folks who like to stop-and-go or stop-and-stay-awhile. Free; available for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. For more information, click here.
Free Wi-Fi Finder
Even if a blissful tech-free trip is what you’re after, there are times when you just need to get online. Stay on top of important emails and other tasks with the Free Wi-Fi Finder app. Just as its name says, the app will locate free wireless Internet service in nearby spots, such as cafes and public libraries. Free; available for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. For more information, click here.
Camp & RV
If you’re planning on roughing it, the Camp & RV app is a must. It can help you locate nearby campgrounds, state and national parks and overnight parking spots as well as related services like supply stores and showers. There are a number of search options, including by city and type of camp, and the map view is particularly useful, allowing you to zoom in on an area for easy navigation. Prices start at $4.99; available for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android-powered devices. For more information, click here and here.
Trip Journal Lite
Don't let the scenery pass you by! Document your trip using Trip Journal Lite. The app lets you record notes, videos and photos of your travels as well as share your adventures on your Facebook page. You can also track your route in case you want to reference it for future trips. Free; available for Android-powered devices. For more information, click here.
If you haven’t booked a hotel — or plans go awry — rest assured you can find a reputable respite with the Trip Advisor app. Much like its popular website, the app provides user reviews of nearby hotels, restaurants and attractions. There is also a virtual tour option that provides a street-level view of your destination and surrounding locations for easy navigation. Free; available for iPhone, iPad, and Android- and Windows-powered devices. For more information, click here and here.
This article originally appeared on WomansDay.com and is republished here with permission.
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