This road trip was much different than our road trips of the past… We actually had technology! In the past, we usually had a cell phone (with no internet mind you) and a road map or printed out Mapquest driving directions. What a difference 4 years make. This trip we were had our smart phones and Verizon Wireless Philly armed us with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet with 4GLTE to take on the road. It was amazing! No more calling home and asking my mom to pull up directions because we detoured or spending time calling hotel after hotel to shop around for rates…It was definitely less stressful for the planner of the trip (me). I put together some must have Road Trip Travel Apps for your Android or Smartphone device. There are millions more, but these are great to get started!
1. Gas Buddy – it uses your GPS location to find the best gas prices nearby. Think that there isn’t much difference between gas stations? Think again. When we were in a border town in Virginia, gas was almost $.25 cheaper in Virginia than the 2 miles away in North Carolina. Apparently North Carolina has a higher surcharge on gasoline. Also, we saved $.19 per gallon by driving .7 miles up the road after getting off an exit instead of filling up at the closest station. When you are driving 1,400 miles like we did, that .19 makes a difference and would pay for a meal or attraction along the way.
2. FourSquare – I used Four Square as my travel journal. Each time we stopped at a place to eat or visit, I would check in, snap a picture, write a little bio about it or notes so I could write about it later. On occasion Four Square may have a deal or special at a restaurant so it’s worth it to have on your phone. You can also publish the info to your Twitter or Facebook so others can see where you are and your thoughts on the place.
3. Restaurant.com – I think I have mentioned on more than one occasion, that I love Restaurant.com but I didn’t love it so much on the road, until now! They have a mobile app which allows you to redeem the certificate that you bought on your phone. You can purchase a certificate on your phone in seconds (right now they had a great coupon code making the $25 certificate only $4) and then redeem it at one of the participating locations (not all accept the mobile certificate so be careful and read descriptions carefully). So for a restaurant in Charlotte that participated, you spent $35 on the meal, used the $25 off and you essentially paid $14 for your $35 meal ($4 for the certificate and $10 for the difference). Not a bad deal!
4. Yelp – This allowed me to find some really great restaurants that were off the beaten path and stay away from fast food. It indicates how expensive the food it, allows you to read reviews, and even see if there are any coupons/discounts. You can even write a review on the go.
5. Trip Advisor – The second most popular travel app in the Android Market, Trip Advisor has thousands of reviews and locates food, hotel and more.
6. USA Rest Stop Locator – Find the nearest rest stop to you… helpful if you have kiddos who have to pee every 5 seconds
7. Best Parking – Find the best deal in parking garages in over 40 cities. As you may have noticed when travelling, in cities like New York, there is a huge difference in pricing sometimes from street to street.
P.S. An honorable mention goes to Trip It… It creates your itinerary by linking up with your email. It pulls confirmations and schedules and plugs it in, so you don’t need to print them all out. It keeps your trip organized and all in one place.
Also, don’t forget to load up on some kids apps like matching games, flash cards and they even have finger painting apps. I used YouTube videos of Chuggington to lure little man into sitting still at nicer restaurants. Truth is there are a ton of apps that would be helpful, these are just my favorites. Do you have favorite Road Trip Travel Apps that you can’t live without? Share it with us in the comments!