Technology is everywhere we look. From the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep. Sometimes it’s helpful and sometimes it’s less than ideal, but for good or for bad, it’s here to stay. One way to embrace the constant presence of technology is to put it to work when you’re on the road.

Long gone are the days of paper maps, phone books and asking gas station attendants for directions or restaurant recommendations. Our cell phones are our go-to tool for any kind of information we want while out and about and that should especially be true when traveling by car.

Before you head out on your next road trip, vacation or visit to Grandma’s house, download these apps to keep you informed and in control of the road.

  1. Google Maps. The maps app that comes already on your phone does an okay job. But for those who travel often, the Google Maps app is their preferred navigation app. Some of it’s newest and greatest features include:

  • real-time traffic information

  • turn-by-turn navigation (that doesn’t wait until you’re supposed to turn before letting you know) and lane guidance to let you know which lane you should be in ahead of time

  • rerouting based on current traffic; if a faster route becomes available a notification appears telling you how much time can be saved and you have the option to switch to the new route or keep on the original one

2. GasBuddy. This app depends on other drivers to update gas prices to bring you the most recent data. Some things to keep in mind about this app:

  • Help out by updating gas prices when you stop or see them. One reviewer of the app said that it was a great way for her kids to pass the time on a long road trip. She made it like a game for them and they updated the gas prices for stations as they passed by. It kept them constantly occupied and was a great service to other GasBuddy users in the area!

  • Pay attention to post times. Many users go back to review the app and complain that prices are never accurate. The time the price was posted to the app is given, so if it’s been several hours (or days), don’t expect it to be perfect.

  • You can win a $100 pre-paid gas card for reporting prices in the app. They give out one every day to those who help out and enter the drawing. Somebody’s gotta win it, so make sure you enter!

3. Flush Toilet Finder. This app has a free version with ads and also a paid version for $1.99. This app isn’t perfect, but according to its reviews, it’s getting better. As with any app that relies heavily on crowdsourcing, it will work better in bigger cities. But when you’re in an unfamiliar area, it could be extremely helpful. Features of this app include:

  • Information is available worldwide (which would be perfect for traveling internationally when finding the nearest restroom or water closet is even more challenging)

  • Some entries include extra information, such as if it is wheelchair accessible, has a fee or requires a key

  • When you click on a location, it automatically switches to the maps app on your phone so you have turn by turn directions for walking or driving

  • You can add toilets, rate existing ones for cleanliness and report locations that may have inaccurate information

  • Also works offline, so you’ll always know the location of the nearest toilet

Before you take your next trip into uncharted territory (sort of), head over to the App Store (these apps are available for free on iPhone and Android!) and download these apps to take some of the pressure off and enjoy the ride.
Categories: News
Tags: Roadtrip, Apps, tips