With Memorial Day approaching faster than you can say “barbecue!” and surveys indicating this year is going to be a busy one on the roads, now’s the time to take stock of your necessary road trip supplies. Roadside emergency kit? Check. Plenty of snacks and drinks? Check. Spare tire pumped up to max? Hmmm… better take care of that. And when you’re finished, read below to check out our cool list of apps and other essential road-trip gadgets for your Memorial Day road trip.
Google Maps App – These days, you don’t need cumbersome paper maps or atlases to keep you from getting lost. As long as you have a smartphone and a signal, you’re golden. What’s better, using Google Maps doesn’t even require you to turn on your GPS – although you will need to enable GPS on your smartphone if you want turn-by-turn directions. Downloading the Google Maps app will also help you avoid toll roads and heavy traffic situations by providing you with alternate routes to your destination.
Mad Libs App – Looking to keep the kids occupied with a creative diversion while ensuring they remember the difference between adjectives and nouns? The free Mad Libs app will bring you back to the old days of the physical book, and there are 21 different stories to keep you and the family occupied (and likely laughing) along the way.
The Weather Channel App – Traveling long distances can become unsafe if you hit adverse weather conditions. Before you go, be sure to get online and check the weather forecast for your destination, as well as in all the areas you’ll be traveling through. To keep up to the minute on developing weather situations, download the official Weather Channel application. This will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises that could keep you from arriving to grandma’s house on time.
Beat the Traffic App – Getting where you’re going safely and on time also requires you to get a heads-up in advance of any bad traffic jams or accidents that could throw a wrench into your plans. When you download Beat the Traffic (available for iOS and Android) you’ll be given access to real-time traffic information
GasBuddy App – Road trips these days have become a bit cost prohibitive, thanks to the constantly rising cost of gas. If you’re steadfast and determined not to let that stop you, though, that doesn’t mean you have to just throw in the towel when it comes to saving a few dollars here and there. With the GasBuddy app installed to your smartphone, you can punch in your location and find the lowest gas prices in your area. The information is updated frequently by a helpful community of users, so you’ll know what you see online reflects timely and accurate gas prices.
Hotel Tonight App – Are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants road tripper? Hotel Tonight has access to unsold hotel-room inventory. If you’re comfortable waiting until the last minute, you could stand to save up to 70%. Check out the day’s best values and book it right on your phone for your Memorial Day road trip. Not comfortable doing this every day of your trip? The best deals may be found on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and right after holidays.
Audible App – If you don’t have enough time for all the books you want to enjoy, download Audible. It’s an Amazon-run app, so its library is extensive. The price of each book is comparable to a paperback or buying an eBook. And if you want to change the reading speed in order to focus on traffic, or as you head to bed at night, it’s a cinch.
OpenTable App – Road trips can make you hungry, but it’s tough to know what the best restaurants around are if you’re just passing through on your way to someplace else. Fortunately, there’s an app that can not only help you find good eats wherever you are, but that’ll also give you the power to reserve a seat at a restaurant in advance of your arrival. You can install the OpenTable app to your iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry and a wide variety of other mobile devices for free. Beyond the ability to claim a seat, you’ll also be able to peruse the restaurant’s menu, check prices, and see photos of dishes.
Openbay App – All the road-trip apps can’t prevent unforeseen circumstances like a broken fan belt or a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. To reduce your risk of breaking down by the side of the road, always take your car in for a checkup prior to leaving on any extended road trips. And if you’ve broken down while on the go, and need to find a trustworthy local mechanic for a fair price, be sure to use Openbay’s mobile app.