Top apps to help with summer road trips
Benjamin Franklin once famously said that the only certainties in life were death and taxes. During the summer, you can add another thing to that list: lots of people are going to be hitting the road for their vacations.
It wasn't too long ago that travel during the summer months meant breaking out the road atlas and being able to read road signs. Now, of course, all the help you used to need for navigation, lodging, and anything else you might need on a road trip is as close as your phone or tablet.
We're talking about apps, of course. Travel apps are their own category on the iOS App Store, but not all travel is the same, and here, we're going to dig into the apps that will help you specifically if you're piling people, luggage, and maybe even pets into the family vehicle to head out to your destination. Download or purchase some of these apps today and put your mind slightly more at ease.
Waze Navigation & Live Traffic
I've wondered for a long time how you were supposed to pronounce this app. Turns out it rhymes with 'maze,' which is pretty cool when you think about it since this app clearly helps you avoid wandering around aimlessly with a goal nowhere in sight. Waze gives you maps and turn-by-turn navigation, for sure, but also traffic info and alerts via the almighty power of crowdsourcing. Don't leave home without it, even though that phrase originally came from a credit card commercial.
GasBuddy: Find & Pay for Gas
Unless your name is Elon Musk, you're going to need to refuel while on your epic summer road trip. Like Waze, it relies on people helping people, except in this instance the assistance being given has to do with locating affordable gas. With millions of users all chipping in, you're bound to find the best way to fill up near you, and then you can return the favor down the road. Because lord knows you're going to have to refill on the way back too.
HotelTonight - Hotel Deals
Control freak types may want to skip this section, since you no doubt already know where you're staying every night you're away from home. For the rest of us, summer travel sometimes means finding a room on short notice, and that's what Hotel Tonight is all about. Other lodging apps can do the job as well, but only this one specializes in last minute discounts on unsold rooms for when you really just need a place to crash.
Need to keep the kids off their phones and tablets while in the car? In the ultimate example of irony as most people understand it, this app can do the trick. Roadside America is loaded with all of the attractions one could ever want while on a road trip, dubious though some of them might be. It's not free, but there is a choice to purchase individual regions if need be, and the comedy value of some of the writers who chip in field reports is worth it all by itself.
Tollsmart Toll Calculator
There's no question that the number of toll roads in North America just keeps rising, and that's a trend that's probably not going away. Tollsmart not only helps you deal with these necessary evils, it also helps you calculate alternate routes that might save you some dough, keeps you in the know about where your multi-state toll pass might be accepted, and much more. All of the apps on our list can help outside of summer road trips, but this one might be the handiest of all when your road trip is over, depending on what your commute looks like.