“Ultimate Road Trips” – There’s An App For That!

July 25, 2014

in App Reviews

  • SumoMe

Road Trip Screen shot 1Following in the tire treads of last Friday’s “A Trio of Road Apps” story, today’s focus is on what the developer, Budget Travel, hopes you’ll find to be the ultimate road trip app, aptly named “Ultimate Road Trips” (free for Apple and Android mobile devices).

The app’s description on iTunes claims that it is “an easy, hit-the-road travel guide to more than 75 Great American Drives. From warm beaches to winding country roads, from mountain lakes to big-city style, we give you travel-ready GPS maps and the best places to eat, see, and stay along the way!”

Here’s what I discovered “road testing” the app on my iPhone 5 while sitting in my office.

Pick Your Trip

Unlike other road trip planning apps, “The Ultimate Road Trips” doesn’t let you put together an itinerary the includes any destinations you choose.

You are limited to the app’s selection of 75 pre-planned trips:

  • “By Region”
  • “Near Me”
  • “Random”

I tried out “Near Me,” and since I live close to San Francisco) first and was served up these 10 trips, many of which aren’t really that near my location:

  • “Ultimate California Road Trip” (Monterey Bay to Hearst Castle)
  • “The Pacific Coast Highway Without the Traffic” (north of San Francisco)
  • “Road Trip: Southern California Coast”
  • “Road Trip Through California’s Gold Country” (“Cowboy hats and bar brawls optional.”)
  • “Scenic Trip Through Joshua Tree National Park”
  • “Classic Road Trip Down The Pacific Coast Highway”
  • “Driving Mendocino County”
  • “Hidden California: The Anza-Borrego Desert”
  • “Sierra Gold Country”
  • “Road Trip: Northern California”

“Travel Story”

I decided to check out the last on the list first. I was greeted with an ad (which disappeared after a few seconds) for Hertz rental cars, then the app opened an overview map displaying a more or less circular route with location icons for each stop along the way.

Tapping on a location icon brings up information (more about this below) about a stop.

Tapping on an “i” (for “Information”) symbol brought up a quite detailed narrative story about what to see and do, and where to stay and eat, if I decided to take the trip.

It was somewhat similar to the type of travel story I might read in a newspaper or magazine, but it could have been briefer, and better organized, with section headings and bullet points to make finding and reading the trip details easier.

Location Information

Tapping on the location icon for the trip actually gave me a list of 13 places, including 9 points of interest, 2 eateries and 2 lodgings.

Curiously enough, although a camera icon appears next to each point of interest, none had any photos associated with them. The description of the places was scant, although a Website link was included.

You can get directions to/from the place by exiting the app and going to Google Maps, but then you had to leave the map and go back to the app to investigate other places you’d visit during the trip.

Driving Time and Distance

Unlike the “Roadtrippers” app I reviewed last Friday, “The Ultimate Road Trips” app doesn’t seem to provide driving times and distances, or estimated fuel costs. I guess I need another app for that.

No Booking

Although the narrative story and the location icons providing information on a few places (but not many) on where to eat or stay, the app only includes phone numbers and Website addresses. You can’t book a room or table directly from the app.

“Favorites”

While viewing a trip you can mark it as a “Favorite” so you can pull it up later.

Sharing A Trip

You can share a trip via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or e-mail.

But all that sharing provides is a link to the narrative travel story for the trip that has been posted on the BudgetTravel.com Website.

And again unlike Roadtrippers.com, it doesn’t appear that you can use the BudgetTravel.com Website to select a trip, and then open the trip on your smartphone or tablet while you are on the road traveling.

Getting What You Pay For?

“The Ultimate Road Trip” app is free, but sometimes you get what you pay for, and when you pay nothing, sometimes you get nothing of value.

And nothing of value is how I’d describe the not-so-ultimate road trip app, “Ultimate Road Trips.” Don’t bother packing it into your mobile device before leaving home.

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