As summer approaches and the great American road trip calls out to your inner Kerouac, set aside time for downloading smartphone apps while you pack for your journey. Travel apps built with road trips in mind can help you discover great restaurants and parks, find groceries and pharmacies in unfamiliar cities, and even locate the cheapest gas.
Along the Way
A simple, easy-to-use app with a scroll bar at the top that allows you to click on Coffee, Food, Parks, Shops, Arts, Camping and more. Make your choice and see your options with distance and directions (using Apple Maps or Google Maps). Parents will love it because of the filters for parks, aquariums, zoos and fun. Info: Free, iOS; available in the App Store.
Flush Toilet Finder — Bathroom, Loo and WC Finder
This app can save you time when you’re in unfamiliar territory and need a bathroom break. Open the app and it zeros in on your location with a map of green pins indicatingnearby toilets. Below the map is a list of toilets and their addresses. Tap on a pin to connect to driving, walking or transit directions. It even has a symbol called “Ride” so that you can call Uber to get to that toilet ASAP. Info: Free; Android, iOS. Needs Wi-Fi or cellular data. Available on Google Play and in the App Store.
Audiobooks are expensive, and so are memberships to services that allow you to use theirs. See if your library supports the OverDrive app and tap into free access of audiobooks, ebooks, videos and periodicals. You can sync a book across several devices, or for road trips play an audio book from your phone. Don’t forget your library card to sign in. Info: Free. Android, iOS, Windows. Available on Google Play and in the App Store.
Are you taking your road trip outside the United States? If so, this is the app for you. Its numerous features include real-time route sharing and offline maps that chart your route and give you voice-guided navigation commands. Try the Premium version free for seven days. Info: Free, plus upgrades to $84.99. Android, iOS, Windows. Available on Google Play and in the App Store.
Urgent.ly Roadside Assistance
Did you get stuck? Urgent.ly offers on-demand fast, safe, reliable roadside assistance in the United States. Sign up for a free account, then use the app to tell Urgent.ly if you are locked out, need fuel or towing, help with a flat tire and more. Prices vary according to the service needed. Track your server’s estimated time of arrival and pay through the app. Info: Free. Android, iOS
USA Rest Stops
Sometimes all you need to know is the location of the next rest stop. This is your app. Browse by state or interstate, then view your options, with facilities and hours if available, on a map or list. Gives you the option to be notified when you are in range of the rest stop. Also shows welcome centers and service plazas on turnpikes. Info: Free, with $1.99 upgrades. Android, iOS. Available on Google Play and in the App Store.