Here Are Some Great Apps for Your Next Road Trip
Before the Internet and smart phones, road trips were a different animal entirely. 15 years ago, for instance, only the most well-heeled travelers could afford a personal concierge service to recommend activities, hotels, and restaurants in each city on a prolonged excursion.
In today’s world, all those services are available—for free or at minimal cost—on a device that fits into your pocket. We’ve compiled a list of the best apps to download when you’re ready to hit that endless ribbon of highway.
Planning Your Pit Stops
Spontaneity isn’t for everyone. If you need a structured plan to feel confident about your trip, there are a number of apps out there that’ll do the work for you. Along the Way ($2.99) is an iPhone app that seeks out food, coffee, bars, shopping, and other attractions along your route. Because it searches your entire route instead of just the places around you, it can be a useful planning tool—and prevent you from scrambling for a nearby place to stop when you’re already on the road. It works anywhere in the world, but it’s exclusively available on iOS.
Roadtrippers (free) is available on both iOS and Android, but it’s only for users in the United States. Like Along the Way, it’s designed to help you plan stops on your route after you enter your start and end points. The app provides detailed information about each business and attraction, so you can make informed decisions about where you want to stop.
Finding Good Eats on the Road
One of the most difficult aspects of traveling is finding decent places to eat, and if you don’t want to resort to eating fast food and gas station pizza for every meal, a well-made app might be able to help you out. The aforementioned Along the Way and Roadtrippers apps can pinpoint good restaurants, and there are a couple of resources designed specifically for dining while on the road.
TVFoodMaps (free, with in-app purchases) is available on iOS and Android, and it allows you to find restaurants that have appeared on television that happen to be along your route. Some of the app’s featured shows include Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, Man vs. Food, Chopped, and The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
Roadfood (free) is another tried-and-true resource for travelers who want to eat well while they’re on the road, but it’s best utilized at a computer; the mobile equivalent is a lightweight version of the website.
When you’re stopped and searching for nearby eateries, Yelp is a great standby.
Getting Roadside Assistance
We hate to toot our own horn, but let’s face it: our app is a useful tool when you’re traveling hundreds of miles away from home. We designed Urgent.ly as a sort of Uber for roadside assistance. You simply tap a few buttons on your phone to summon a tow truck—or other services, such as a dead battery jump or a flat tire fix—and pay on demand through the app. The flat-rate pricing makes it easy, so it’s a great option for road trips if you want to avoid paying costly annual membership fees.
Keeping an Eye on the Weather
Severe weather can throw your trip way off course. Weather Underground is an excellent resource, and the website’s road trip planner makes it easy to predict storms along your route. You can even enter future dates up to seven days in advance.
Many individuals and local authorities have already jumped on the opportunity to remind users to drive safely. There are even signs popping up on highways to encourage safer driving.
Luckily, there are tools out there to help the tech-obsessed (or the poke-obsessed) improve their driving. One of our favorites is an app called TrueMotion Family! The app analyzes your driving in order to provide you with a score - and insights as to how you drive. It's perfect for parents who want to monitor their teen drivers. The app gives parents the power to see where their kids drive, and produces a 'report card' on their driving in addition to an assessment of whether they were driving distracted (using their cell phone). Plus, families have access to roadside assistance on-demand from right within the TrueMotion app.
I don’t remember Ash, Misty, or Brock driving cars in their quest to be the very best, like no one ever was. And there aren’t vehicles any in PokemonGO. At Urgent.ly, we love the game and just like you, we’re prepared to travel across the land searching far and wide to catch 'em all, but we encourage you to put safety first in your travels! Remember that the power of Pokemon is awesome in augmented reality but automobiles are a powerful tool meant for use in the real world and require optimum focus to operate safely. In a world we must defend, you can start by driving safely, and catch and train ‘em all when you’re not operating a vehicle.