In November of last year, I drove all the way from Florida to Maine with a couple of my coworkers. We covered the entire East Coast, and it was one of the worst road trips I’ve ever been on. Not even joking. Not only did we run into traffic trying to get out of Florida, but we hit about 6 more traffic jams along the way. And to make matters worse, the rear windows in our truck got completely shattered because we traveled through a bad area. All of it could have easily been avoided if we had known what was ahead of us, and had the right tools to actually enjoy the trip.
Don’t get me wrong, road trips can be so much fun. Kyle and I have been planning a Midwest road trip for a couple of months now, and I know that it’ll be so much fun to experience that with him for the first time. But since it’ll be our first road trip together, I want to actually have a solid plan and be able to avoid all of those annoying obstacles. Here are some of the best mobile apps for your next road trip.
When I was in college, I had a 45-minute commute through the city, and it often took much longer than expected. There were always unexpected traffic jams that I could’ve found a way around if I had just known ahead of time. And that’s exactly why someone decided to create Waze. It’s a community run app that relies on what people see during their commute, and it uses that information to create a map for other drivers.
This map includes traffics accidents, jams, police/road blocks, construction detours, and other possible hangups. For any good road trip, you have to have a reliable co-driver who alerts you for every upcoming turn and gas station. Waze is the perfect app to ensure that you get to each destination on time.
The downside to road trips is, of course, having to get gas a million times. But when you’re in an area that you don’t know at all, it’s hard to find the most efficient way to stop and get gas while not driving too far out of your way. Gas Buddy maps out all nearby gas stations, and helps you find the cheapest place.
The objective of any road trip is to experience the very best of each area as you’re passing through it. This app asks you to choose categories based on what you want to see most, and as you get closer to the attractions that fit those categories, it’ll send you alerts. This ensures that you make the most out of each location, while still staying on track.
A huge part of a successful road trip is the months of planning beforehand. Roadtrippers uses your starting point and destination to map out the entire trip, from attractions to restaurants, to hotel stays. And if you find an attraction that you want to stop at along the way, it’ll re-route your trip for you. Planning can be extremely stressful and overwhelming, so I was thrilled to find an app that could do it all.
We all know about Yelp as the ideal place to read hilarious restaurant reviews, good and bad. But until I started planning our road trip, I didn’t realize how useful it could be for finding the best places to eat. Trying new restaurants in a place you’ve never been is one of the many exciting things about a road trip. Yelp ensures that we don’t waste our money on places where we could end up having a terrible experience.
An essential tool for any great road trip is a playlist. Spotify allows you to choose from thousands of artists and songs, both old and new, and create stations out of what you want to hear. Whenever i’m traveling through a new area, it’s hard to find good radio stations that aren’t playing the same songs over and over again. So turn off the radio, and use Spotify instead!
If you have a AAA membership, this app is a must have. All road trips include the occasional flat tire or dead battery, and if you’re like me, you’re not exactly a mechanic. AAA is just a simple call away, and usually the wait is only about 20-45 minutes, depending on where you are. Having our car break down would certainly not be ideal, but we have to have a plan for everything.
I love this app. It’s the ultimate planner for every night out, whether you’re eating locally or somewhere along the way. Not only can you see if tables are open at the best spots, but it allows you to make a reservation according to your party size. You can book a few weeks in advance, or when you’re 20 minutes out. It really helps any road-tripper to tie up the loose ends and relieves the worry of finding a place to eat at the last minute.
Have you ever been on a road trip? What tools helped you to plan it all out?