Nothing ruins the anticipation of an exciting summer vacation like road trip misery. We’ve all been there: you have grand ideas about how driving to your destination is going to help you save money, as well as bond with the fam. Cue vision of laughing family playing car games and enjoying each other’s company.
However, 20 minutes into your eight-hour trip you realize that this is not going to be the case. The kids are already whining that they’re hungry and bored, the driver is distracted from the commotion in the back seat, and you feel a massive headache coming on. Before World War III breaks out in Rhonda the Honda, check out these eight free road trip apps that we promise will make your car ride more enjoyable (or as enjoyable as a family vacation can be).
“I’m hungry! I want Wendy’s!”
Quell the complaining with the RoadNinja app. This lifesaver lets you know exactly what is coming up in exits right off of the interstate you’re traveling. So when your kid needs to go right now or he refuses to eat any fast food except Wendy’s chicken nuggets, you’ll know you only have to listen to the crying for five more miles.
You thought you were going to drive through the night, but you literally can’t take one more second in the car. HotelsByMe lets you find hotels in your vicinity, including ratings from TripAdvisor, prices and real-time availability. Get some shuteye at a hand-picked hotel for the night and start again fresh in the morning.
Mashable called RoadTrippers the “only app you’ll need for the Great American Road Trip,” and we believe them. A self-proclaimed mix of Mapquest and Yelp, RoadTrippers finds the most adventurous route available to get you to your destination. Spice up the route you’ve taken a million times in search of something more exciting.
Car snacks are exciting for the first couple of hours, but after your three-year-old sticks the second Cheeto up his nose, they start to lose some appeal. With OpenTable, you can read menus, check prices and ratings, and make a reservation at participating restaurants.
Whether you forgot your charger at the last hotel or five people are fighting over one car charger, BatteryGuru will help save your battery life with smart changes to energy expense. In the first few days, the guru learns how you interact with your smartphone and then comes up with a battery optimization plan based on your specific usage.
6. Sky Map
Add a night of camping under the stars to your road trip and this cosmic app will definitely come in handy. You can search constellations as you see them with Sky Map’s GPS information about the stars in your location.
With this free app, you can send digital postcards of your trip to friends and family anywhere in the U.S. for $.99. Use photos from your camera roll, Instagram or Facebook and add your own personalized message!
The Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker for iOS and Android is a great travel companion for your road trip (which can’t always been said for everyone else in your car). You can track your mileage and route with the click of a button (okay, two buttons – “Start Trip” and “Stop Trip”). The app also allows you to snap pictures of your trip receipts and upload them directly to your Shoeboxed account.
All of these apps sound like a great excuse to take a vacation to us! Which of these apps sounds the most useful to you?
Photo credit: tripwiremagazine.com; postagramapp.com