When I was a kid, Dinah Shore exhorted Americans to “See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet.” Whatever make of car you are driving today, and wherever you might be heading on your summer “road trip,” you won’t want to leave home without your favorite smartphone apps.
“Show and Tell”
Here are some travel apps that Tecca TV likes:
Getting There Should be Half the Fun
These three iPhone apps can assist me while driving to my vacation destination:
MapQuest 4 Mobile
If I’ve turned on “Use Voice Guidance,” the app will speak turn-by-turn directions out loud—a big help when you are driving solo without a human “navigator” in the passenger seat.
The app also shows traffic on nearby roads, and locations of restaurants, hotels, shopping centers, gas stations, ice cream parlors, and much more.
To monitor traffic on highways where I’m driving, I use the INRIX Traffic app. Green to red colors that overlay the roads shown on the map let me instantly see whether traffic is “going with the flow” or at a dead stop. Clickable buttons on the map display “Comparative Traffic” (better or worse than average) or whether traffic flow is forecasted to be best now or at a later hour.
Road construction, freeway ramp closures, accidents, police actions, and even scheduled music concerts are shown on the map, while details of those events are listed in the “Incident” section of the app.
If you want live traffic feeds, or need to plan out and save routes you frequently take, such as between home and work, you can buy the $24.99 “Premium” version from a link within the free INRIX Traffic app.
As a American Automobile Association member, if I need to find a repair shop, get a new battery, have a flat tire replaced with my spare one, or have my car towed if it conks out, I can use my AAA Roadside app to get AAA to come to my rescue. And if the repair shop says “Junk it!,” the app can help me find a nearby Hertz office where I can rent some “wheels” and keep rolling down the highway.
I Made It!
After arriving at my destination, these two iPhone apps can help me have fun:
Not a travel app you say? I’ve purchased guidebooks in Kindle e-book format from Amazon.com, read them on my desktop computer (PC or Mac) with its nice, big screen, and highlighted and bookmarked important “see, do, eat” entries.
Then with the free Kindle iPhone (or iPad) app, I can jump right to those annotations when I’m “on location.” What I like best: Even if I don’t buy a Kindle e-book reader, I can have access to Kindle e-books.
This app lets you take a photo, or use one from your iPhone’s Camera Roll or Photo Library, to create a picture-postcard that you can share via e-mail or the SodaSnap Gallery (a public collection of the last 50 postcards that have been created around the world).
The $2.99 SodaSnap+ version of the app also lets you post on Twitter or Facebook, customize font color, size, and type, use your location as the postcard image, and save a postcard to the Photo Library on your iPhone.
Name Your Best “Road Trip” App!
Got a favorite smartphone app that works great when you’re traveling by car? Let us know about it by filling in the comment form at the end of this post.
(Purchasing paid iPhone apps, Kindle e-books, or Kindle e-readers through the links on this page helps support Tales Told From The Road.)
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