It’s almost here: Memorial Day weekend! And you know what that means: Too much time in the car fleeing town on Friday and sitting in traffic on Monday. Unless you have the right apps. These ten have saved me time and money on many a road trip. Specifically, they can help you…
* Drive the most interesting roads.
Indicate the area you’re driving to or through, and Greatest Drive tells you the sweetest and most scenic stretches of road to take.
* Locate the cheapest gas.
GasBuddy pinpoints the gas stations closest to where you are, providing the price per gallon at each.
* Find the closest great meal.
Don’t settle for fast-food chains. Use the TripAdvisor app to find spots where the locals eat, often just a mile or two off the highway. The app even provides those restaurants’ menus.
* Pull up a map when you have no Wi-Fi or cellular signal.
Maplets provides offline maps of national parks, college campuses, tourism trails (e.g., the Sonoma Valley Winery map), even desert areas for off-roading. Download the maps when you have a free Internet connection, then pull them up later when you don’t.
* Get necessities fast.
Need to find the nearest pharmacy, hospital, ATM, or grocery store? Fire up Around Me.
* Discover cool activities on your route.
Along the Way points you to pit stops—landmarks, parks, shops, recreational activities, popular local spots—that can make for a nice break.
* Listen to great radio in the middle of nowhere.
TuneIn brings you more than 100,000 radio stations from all over the world, not to mention four million podcasts and audio feeds from sources like CNN and The Wall Street Journal.
* Find the closest clean bathroom.
When nature calls on unfamiliar roads, SitorSquat comes in handy, pointing you to the cleanest public restrooms (those that fit the “sit” category) as well as the not-so-clean (the “squat” options).
* Let loved ones know where you are.
Glympse automatically shares your real-time GPS location with people you specify during a period of time you specify. It’s an easy way to let a parent, spouse, or friend know you’re on your way (and your ETA) without your having to text or call while at the wheel.
* Get roadside assistance.
Think of Urgent.ly as AAA without the membership fees. I haven’t had the need to test this one yet, thankfully, but if your car breaks down and you’re stranded God-knows-where, Urgent.ly promises to locate and connect you with the closest available assistance. You’re charged only when you use the app to get help.
Wendy’s got plenty more travel solutions at WendyPerrin.com.