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Some car dealers don’t even attempt to upsell GPS navigation for their latest models. Instead, when you buy the car, they show you how to perform the integration with Google Maps, since the app has become synonymous with travel planning. It’s now simple to map out your trip on your smartphone, such as the new Apple iPhone 6 Plus. Input the street addresses for any two places in the continental United States and Google Maps will instantly plot a course that takes you between them as quickly as possible. It even includes information about traffic patterns along the way. The iPhone’s 5.5-inch Retina display and fast iOS 8 processor make it the perfect Google Maps and overall travel companion.
Some of the greatest road trips are the ones you don’t plan. Instead, you start driving and improvise everything during the trip. Along the Way celebrates this kind of explorer mentality. The app has collated tens of thousands of restaurants, stores, bars, and other forms of entertainment across the country.
Along the Way will prompt you for the type of entertainment you seek. Once you respond, it’ll provide a slew of options for you and your group to consider. It also includes reviews from other app users as well as popular ranking sites. That way, you’ll know whether a place is worth your time and money. This app is like having a tour guide in your back pocket.
A lot of hotels include aggravating conditions when you try to book a room, like cancellation policies that force you to decide whether you’ll know you need a room within a few days of your visit. Some of them don’t even have cancellation policies. Once you book, they bill you, and they don’t offer refunds. Life doesn’t work like that. You want to feel free and untethered when you’re on the open road. Reservations are for suckers, and Hotel Tonight understands that.
The app is perfect when you don’t want to book in advance. When you’re ready to stop for the night, simply load it and see what’s available in the city you’re visiting. Hotel Tonight will provide a variety of choices, including deluxe accommodations and cheap motels. It even lists a few hostels and the occasional Airbnb offering. As long as there’s not a major event in the area that night, you should find a warm bed without feeling forced into staying due to an existing reservation.
The days of the vacation photo album ended when the social media era began. Nowadays, you have splashier options for showing off the great adventures from your trip. Animoto is arguably the greatest of them. This program will search the photographs on your phone and compile them into a video. It’ll even include music and effects to create a professional tone for your 21st century scrapbook. Best of all, you can target single folders. Place all the pictures from your road trip in the same folder. In minutes, you’ll have a video representation of your journey.
Driving a car isn’t free. You’re going to have buy gas for your road trip. That doesn’t mean you have to give in to price gougers, though. One of the secrets of interstate gas stations is that less populous exits charge more. They do so for two reasons. One is that they don’t have as much competition. The second is that people stopping at their exit are often almost out of gas, which is why they couldn’t stop at a more popular exit.
Gas Buddy helps you avoid paying too much to fill your tank. It’ll notify you of upcoming gas stations. Better yet, it’ll display current pricing at each one. That way, you’ll have your pick of location and cost. It’s a simple app that has only one job, which it does very well.
Road trips are one of the best parts of life. Downloading these five apps makes them even better. You’ll have the time of your life while feeling carefree yet thrifty.