Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Apps You Didn't Know You Needed

When I really stop and think about it, I am incredibly spoiled by my smart phone. I can order coffee from my phone. My GPS saves me from getting lost. I can listen to audiobooks in the front seat while the girls listen to their own music in the back. My phone can basically direct a road trip from start to finish, from the navigation to the entertainment to the planning of stops. It's AMAZING.

I've found some apps that are amazing, and some that are basically battery suckers trying to give me viruses, but this summer, I found some that I love now. Here are a few new favorites.
  • Waze: There are always options to avoid traffic and delays, and Waze is the app to help you find them. On a recent road trip, we found out just how true this was. We used Waze to get to our shoreline destination, and arrived with almost no traffic slowdowns – even over the Hudson! We loved the route so much that we just decided to reverse it, and didn’t bother to open the app on the way home, and our travel time doubled. We ran into rush hour, construction, accidents, vacationers, anything that can slow you down. If we’d only bothered to use Waze we would have realized that there were better routes to take us home. Waze updates in real time, and not only that, gives information on gas prices, speed traps and everything else we needed to know.

  • Along the Way: Perfect guide for day trips in unfamiliar territory. Find parks, bars, shops and landmarks along your route without wandering.

  • Songza: Is Pandora too limiting in your station searching? Songza lets your search for playlists by mood, genre, decade, activity, or artist. Want a playlist for “driving in the left lane” or “starting a new chapter”? This is the place to find it.

  • Gas Buddy: We all know the service stations right off the highway aren’t the best deals, so gas buddy is there to help you find a great price on your route.

  • Audible: Music playlists can be great, but I’m a huge fan of audiobooks while I’m traveling. Audible has over 150,000 audiobooks and plenty of deals to keep them affordable. And since it’s on your phone, you don’t have to wait until you’re back in the car for that resolution in a great story – just pop in your headphones and “finish your book” on the beach!

  • Sit or Squat: Thinking you have your pit stops planned out is all fine and good, but sometimes traffic or that extra large drink can leave you hoping for a restroom before you get there. Sit or Squat is the ultimate bathroom app that lets you know the cleanest locations (where you can sit with ease) or the less desirable “squat” locations. When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go, but at lease you’ll know where you’re going!

  • TV Food Maps: There’s more to road trip dining than fast food or chain restaurants. This app lets you search for spots that have been featured on popular Food Network shows, like Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Man v. Food, and No Reservations. You can search by your location, but you can also get notified when you’re near a spot that has been featured, which is a great way to discover perfect travel meal spots! 
From potty breaks to a reference book, travel is so much more relaxing when I have an app for that!
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