Remember the old days, when you planned a road trip with a map and a cautious hope that there would be gas stations and restaurants along the way? Even when my family and I would drive back home to visit family, I was relying on past knowledge of the route that we could find a place to “eat and get gas.”
Nowadays, you can use a multitude of apps to help you plan your next road trip. They can save you time and frustration, and even help create lasting memories. They can give you everything from directions to your favorite restaurants to traffic alerts to the locations of the closest ATM.
There are some apps, like Google Maps and Waze, that can provide all that and more, but it’s not the only way to plan your next trip. Here are a few apps recommended by Afar Magazine that you may want to consider whenever you planning a multi-hour journey to another city.
Roadtrippers is ideal for those who need a plan, but don’t want to plot everything out — they just want ideas and suggestions. Just is enter your destination on the app or their website, and Roadtrippers will calculate the best route and show you everything you can see and do along the way, including parks, restaurants, and hotels. You just make the choice of where you would like to stop.
Another map planner option is Waze. Waze gets down and dirty with traffic trouble, speed traps, road conditions, construction, and even potholes and roadkill. You’ll get real-time updates as things happen, and Waze will even reroute you and update your arrival time based on road conditions ahead.
Most people will book their hotel rooms far in advance, but that’s not always possible. Maybe you’re playing things by ear, or maybe you’re just leaving things purely to chance. So how do you decide where you’ll stay? The HotelTonight app offers great deals on same-day bookings at quality hotels, because prices often drop as it gets closer to your stay. That means you’ll likely end up saving money when you book last minute. Plus, there are exclusive mobile deals which can save even more. So if you want to take a gamble, don’t book your hotel until that morning and see if you can swing a 5-star stay on a 3-star budget.
Did you know there’s even an app for locating restrooms? Thanks to Charmin (the toilet paper brand), SitorSquat gives you a list of nearby public toilets based on your GPS location. It also rates them by cleanliness (a green toilet icon means it’s clean; red means it’s. . . less than ideal). The app also tells you if there are baby-changing tables as well as wheelchair accessibility, too. Fun fact: there are currently more than 100,000 bathrooms throughout the United States in the app’s database, as well as a growing number of toilets outside the country.
The Outbound app is a great alternative to the same old rest stops for getting out of the car. It’s a GPS-based, crowd-sourced app which gives local recommendations for nearby outdoorsy activities. Think national parks, good hiking trails, secret swimming holes, and more. User reviews are fact checked by The Outbound Collective staff, so you can trust the advice. It works similarly to the Roadtrippers app, but it’s based on crowd-sourced information rather than just a collection of guidebooks and Google Maps entries,
DayPass is another app that helps you find more relaxing activities such as pools, beach clubs, gyms, and spas at hotels and resorts around the world. Just type in the destination and you can see hotels and gyms that offer day passes to their facilities so you can get in a good workout or go for a quick massage.
Can you even call a road trip a road trip if you don’t spend hours playing pointless games? Here’s a modern twist on games. HeadsUp! tests your ability to pick real answers to trivia questions from false one created by other players. The game offers four styles of play which offers even more ways to be entertained. Options include a word game, classic trivia, truth-telling game and movie trivia.
These are just a few app suggestions to help you make your next road trip more enjoyable and relaxing, whether you’re traveling for business or for pleasure. Did we miss any? Do you have a favorite we didn’t mention? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.