Road trips have long been the subject of buddy comedies. To Hollywood, there’s nothing funnier than putting two guys who don’t like each other in a car and forcing them to bond while driving across the country.
In reality, road trips may not be as dramatic, but the freedom of the open road, and the chance to see parts of the world you’d otherwise miss, is incredibly appealing. Nearly 47 million Americans decided to take a trip over 500 miles last year, and the late summer/early fall is ideal for Canadians to take similar advantage of the weather.
Road trips have changed a lot over the decades. With the introduction of smartphones, the activity was revolutionized. Here are some apps you’ll absolutely want for your next road trip.
First, you need to have a plan. Roadtrippers is one of the most popular apps to help you do it. The app allows you to plot your path with up to 150 stops if you sign up for a premium account. It’ll also help you estimate how much gas will cost along the way. During your trip, you can save your favourite places to remember them for next time.
You’ll need something to keep an eye on traffic, and while Google Maps is usually good, it may not be up to date on where you’re headed. Things like sudden construction might come as a surprise. Waze collects information from other drivers to ensure you get where you want to be without any delays.
The fun of taking a road trip is discovering all the strange roadside attractions. For instance, there’s a stretch of Interstate 10 between El Paso, Texas, and Tucson, Arizona, that promises for miles that you’re nearing “The Thing” — a fake mummy. All such wonders, full of nostalgic, kitschy charm, are on Roadside America, an app that notifies you when you’re nearing the strangest, most offbeat little corners of the country.
iExit Interstate Exit Guide
Knowing where to get off can be a headache. If you’re just looking for a restroom, any exit will do, but anything more complicated than that is essentially guesswork. iExit Interstate Exit Guide tells you exactly what each exit offers in terms of bathrooms and food options.
Even if you planned the trip down to the last minute (which is never recommended for vacations, anyway), there are bound to be a few unexpected stops along the way. Perhaps you or your companions are exhausted and desperate to find a place to crash. That’s why HotelTonight is useful. It keeps you up to date on nearby deals so you can keep your costs down.
For those who prefer not to stay in traditional hotels, Airbnb offers the same kind of low-cost overnight stays all over the world. Wherever you’re headed, given the recent rise in gas prices, these apps will help you save on the vacation everyone should take this year.
Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer