After you've booked your hire car and sorted out accompanying car hire insurance coverage through insuremyrentalcar.com, you'll need to put plans in place to ensure that your road trip vacation goes without a hitch. Smartphones, which offer a virtual fountain of information to our fingertips, can help. So, with your tarmac bound vacation in mind, here's ten of the best free road trip travel apps to help you along your way.
Sometimes your best laid plans will just go wrong. If you encounter car trouble for example, and there's no way you're going to make that hotel booking in a city 100 miles away, you're going to have to find somewhere else to stay. The Hotels By Me app allows you to search through over 200,000 hotels worldwide, with real-time availability and prices. Not only that, but it will allow you to sort and filter hotels in line with your preferences and then book the one you want, securely and speedily.
You've planned your itinerary down to the hour and minute. However, when you get to the museum you plan to visit only to find that it's shut, you've now got a four-hour window with nothing to do! Step forth Tripso. No matter where you are in the world, Tripso will suggest things to do, based on a number of variables such as the weather. Once downloaded the app will work off line and will provide you with detailed maps and other essential information, to help you make the best of your ad-hoc excursion.
Bitehunter – iOS
After transport and accommodation, eating is the largest single financial outlay whilst on vacation. A significant part of this is down to poor planning, or not realizing how expensive a particular restaurant is going to be before you sit and eat. Bitehunter is a real-time app which allows you to find the best deals for restaurants in your area, using information from all the main coupon and discount sites.
If you are going on a road trip that takes in a large number of America's National Parks – such as the suggested route in Great American Road Trips #2: The Grand Circle – this app is essential. The app provides an overview for all the National Park, State Park and Federal Public Land in America. So if you want to find information on what to see and do, detailed maps, directions and a whole lot more besides, this is the app for you.
Photosynth – iOS
A well taken photo can help the memories of a holiday last a lifetime. This app can help you to improve the quality of your photographs significantly, by snapping amazing panoramic pictures. It's easy to use, too: simply point your camera and start panning slowly to capture your desired snap, and then crop it inside the app. If you're going to visit Grand Canyon, for example, then its vistas that stretch far beyond the eye line are exactly what this app was made for.
Arguably the most significant impact that smartphones have had, is upon the now almost ubiquitous use of social media. With Instagram, once you've snapped your amazing photo, you can then upload it and share it via the social network of your choosing. Also, if you set up a private Instagram account, you can allow only select followers to view your photos, and as such, they could act as super-personalized postcards for your vacation.
The importance of sun care for your skin and overall health is now well documented. So if you're set for long walks through National Parks or driving your rental car with the top down, you need to be prepared. The Sunscreen Re-Applying Reminder app uses real-time UV data from your location to calculate how much time you can spend out in the sun. Also, if you're the forgetful type, you can set reminders periodically to help remind you when it's time to re-apply the sunscreen.
XE Currency – iOS
This app is essential for those of you embarking upon a foreign-based road trip. Advocated by respected establishments such as the LA Times, CNN and the BBC, this app has proved so popular that it has been downloaded over 20 million times! You now never need to pay more than you want for something. And because it stores updated rates, you'll be able to convert currency on the go, even when you have no internet signal.
Using a substantial amount of gas is going to be an unavoidable consequence of going on a road trip. Yet the price per gallon of gas can differ wildly from state to state and even location to location. For this reason the Gas Buddy app could prove to be invaluable. Using data provided by users, the app will allow you to find the cheapest gas price, closet to you, both quickly and easily.
Packing Pro – iOS
Okay so we're cheating a little here because this app isn't free. However, we found the concept so novel that we felt we felt compelled to include it. Costing $2.99, the app provides you with a list of all the stuff you're going to need to pack when visiting a certain location, depending on the number of people travelling and other vacation-based variables. This app is essential for those that love travelling but hate to make lists.
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