10 Free Travel Apps for Your Road Trip
My family recently took a road trip out West, and we relied heavily on technology to help us get where we were going, find restaurants and attractions once we were there and book last-minute lodging when our Grand Canyon camping plans were thwarted by extremely high winds. Several mobile applications were especially helpful during our two-week trip. Here are ten free ones you should consider downloading if you plan on hitting the road for the Fourth of July weekend:
Google Maps provides step-by-step directions, satellite and street views, and tracks you as you drive along your route so you can see how close you are to your destination. If you have an Android, you can download Google Maps Navigation, which speaks directions to you so you don't have to watch your phone as your drive.
GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest gas prices near you (Android, iPhone, Windows Phone).
AAA TripTik Mobile provides gas prices, maps and directions, as well as AAA Approved hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, attractions and auto repair shops (Android and iPhone).
TripAdvisor has reviews and photos of hotels (as well as restaurants and attractions) so you don't end up some place sketchy. The Near Me Now tool helps you find options near you or a particular address (Android, iPhone, Nokia, Palm, Windows).
Priceline Hotel Negotiator works like Priceline.com, which lets you bid on hotel rooms and score discounted lodging. The benefit of the app is that it lets you see winning bids for accommodations near you (iPhone).
Yelp is great for finding restaurants, shops, attractions and more because it provides reviews, star ratings and directions to help you get to the place you want to go. For restaurants, you can filter your search by food type and price or just click on "nearby" to see which establishments are closest (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone).
Gowalla is a social networking app that lets you check in at restaurants, stores, and more and share recommendations. In addition to user-generated recommendations, Gowalla includes trip guides created by National Geographic, USA Today and other publications (Android, Blackberry, iPhone and Palm).
Goby helps you finds free events and activities near you (Android, iPhone).
Free Wi-Fi Finder shows you where hotspots are so you don't have to pay to connect to the Internet (in case you want to get on your computer and surf the Web rather than look at your phone's tiny screen).
Pandora Radio lets you create your own stations to play music you like so you're not stuck listening to the limited options on your car's radio or the same CD again and again (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Palm).
Bonus: Don't forget to download games to keep the kids occupied. There are plenty of free ones and several that are a few bucks (and well worth the small price).