For many people, the holiday season means taking a road trip, whether it’s to visit family, catch up with friends or just get away from it all. If you’re taking a trip for the holidays, you might want to consider downloading an app to help with trip planning and navigation and to even keep you from getting bored along the way. We’ve highlighted a few of our favorite road trip apps that can do all of these things and more.
Although there are many apps that can help with navigation, we think that two of the best are Google Maps and Waze. The functionality of Google Maps is obvious. It combines everything from the online version of Google Maps into an app, providing driving directions, walking directions and public transit directions. It can also find points of interest, estimate your arrival time and provide real-time traffic updates. Don’t leave home without it.
Waze has similar benefits, though some users prefer it to Google Maps. The primary reason is that Waze offers crowdsourced alerts to let you know of impending traffic delays, road hazards and police on the road ahead, something that can help save you from getting pulled over for speeding.
Navigating to your destination isn’t everything. You’ll also have to plan what to see along your route, and for that, there’s the Roadtrippers app, which gives you the ability to maintain a blog about your trip, visit destinations others have marked as exciting and explore offbeat and unusual places you might have otherwise missed. Roadtrippers also lets you create a bucket list and save places, so you can return to them later.
Similar to Roadtrippers is an app dubbed Along the Way, which unsurprisingly, alerts you to interesting stops worth making along the way to your destination. Along the Way isn’t just about landmarks and sights to see. It can also help find excellent restaurants and gas stations, which can be important when you’re in unfamiliar territory.
If you’re prone to last-minute planning, you might want to check out the HotelTonight app. HotelTonight is great if you’re looking for a last-minute place to stay while you’re on the road, as it helps you find unique last-minute deals on hotels with unsold rooms. This can be a lifesaver while you’re traveling, and a money saver, too.
On Your Way
We also recommend a few apps that will help pass the time while you’re on your way or help you stay on your way in the first place. One is the Axle app, which makes car ownership a little easier by offering both expert advice regarding mechanical problems and real-time tracking and roadside assistance if you break down. While using Axle’s services isn’t free, the app offers great peace of mind if you’re out on the road and you have car trouble.
Another on-the-way app to consider is dubbed Glympse. Billed as a GPS tracking app, Glympse isn’t actually as creepy as it sounds. Instead, it’s a way for you to let friends or family know you’re on the way, as you can send your location information and estimated arrival time to anyone who might need to know it. Glympse is especially perfect for the worried parent who always wants to be sure you’re safely on the way.
Then, of course, there’s music. We still think tried-and-true Spotify is the best music app out there, as it lets you listen to an enormous array of artists and albums, many of which are available even if you don’t have access to data or a good cellphone signal. If you’re on the road and you’re longing for some music, Spotify is the way to go.
Not surprisingly, there’s no shortage of excellent road trip apps that can help plan your trip, arrive safely and have a great time along the way. To maximize your fun, safety and convenience, we recommend choosing at least a few of the apps we’ve listed before setting out this holiday season.
*Editor’s Note: The Axle app is owned by Cox Automotive, the parent company of Autotrader.