Summer is coming, and with it the promise of road trips and plane trips of all shapes and sizes. We travel a few times a year as a family (husband, wife, and two young kids), and have found a few apps over the years that have proven themselves worthy of a download.
Best of all, they’re all free.
1. Waze. Try this crowd sourcing app for traffic and road conditions. The information is provided by people on your travel route, so you can see on the cartoonish-looking map if there’s an accident, police activity or heavy traffic up ahead. You can even chat with other drivers to get an idea of what’s causing the back up. But turn the phone over to a passenger for that, please.
2. Rest Stops. Who among us hasn’t wondered just when the next rest area will appear on the horizon? This handy app tells you where the next interstate rest stop is located (by mile marker) and the features it includes (restrooms, pet area, picnic etc.)
3. Tripadvisor. The granddaddy of consumer reviews for hotels, restaurants and activities. We’ve selected many an attraction and resort based on the information in this easy-to-use app (also a website), and have never been disappointed.
4. Weatherbug. Sure, it’s great to know the weather where you’re planning to travel before you go. Weatherbug can tell you. But I think its real value is in the GPS-enabled feature that shows you the weather, along with any alerts, as you’re traveling to your destination. When our son was a baby, just pre-dating smart phones, we were driving from North Carolina to Ohio and found ourselves in a terrible storm. The radio informed us there were tornado warnings in certain counties, but the problem was we didn’t know what county we were in. Enter Weatherbug.
5. White Noise Lite. Sometimes that tropical paradise comes with thin walls. White Noise Lite can help, offering a menu of sounds to drown out noise while you rest. Personally, I’m not sure how soothing ones like “Grandfather Clock” or “Thunderstorm” would be, but I do like just the plain ol’ white noise.
Those are just a few of my tried and tested, but with more travel in my future, I’d love to hear about yours!