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Download These Essential Apps for Your Summer Road Trip

There are some things about summer travel that are great: time with family and friends, open attractions, great weather almost everywhere, and some things that aren’t so great: crowded highways, long lines, and peak-season prices. Thankfully, with the presence of ubiquitous smartphones and wireless data, we have the assistance of some amazing technology for our summer travel inquiries! These innovative and well-designed apps can help you plan the perfect trip beforehand, assist you while you’re on the road, and open a new world of opportunities and adventure once you reach your destination.

Google Maps

Whether you’re an iPhone addict or an Android convert, this is the gold standard of map apps on any platform. The colorful design has become iconic and still looks fresh and inviting on a screen today. This app incorporates the benefit of Google’s massive wealth of search knowledge into its performance, meaning that you’ll have access to information about millions of locations throughout the world. Rounding out the excellent features is simple, intuitive GPS navigation and directions for driving, walking, public transit, and biking.

Yelp

Sure, it’s somewhat easy to mock what Yelp has become with its cult of followers and elite Yelpers who try to use the threat of bad reviews to intimidate businesses, but this review-based app can still be a wonderful way to find new and interesting places when you’re on the road. Crowdsourcing is a powerful tool, and Yelp contains an enormous and active user base to help guide you. Don’t always be swayed by a star average alone; read individual reviews and tips to find specific complaints or praise that will help you make your decision.

Uber/Lyft

These ridesharing apps are a sigh of relief for people traveling to cities where taxis aren’t omnipresent. The apps themselves feature similar design, functionality, and pricing, so it’s aninnovative idea to join both services in order to have access to the largest pool of vehicles available. These apps work on a system where drivers who have learned the benefits of driving for the TLC and passengers rate each other, so it’s important to remember to always be courteous to your driver; be at the specified location upon their arrival and don’t make them wait excessively for you.

Airbnb

Hotel rates in general have been rising as of late, and this is especially true during the peak summer months. Between family vacationers, conference attendees, and wedding guests, many city hotels can fill up rapidly and leave you scrambling if you’re searching for a restful night’s sleep on the road. Airbnb is a groundbreaking service that connects you to thousands of listings for homes and apartments in cities throughout the world. Not for the unadventurous, Airbnb asks the traveler to forego some of the classic hotel conveniences like room service to be rewarded with a unique experience and options to fit all budgets. As a bonus, staying in someone’s home will provide you with a totally different perspective on your host city than standard hotels, which are usually relegated to tourist hotbeds.

Mint Personal Finance

Mint makes it remarkably simple to keep track of your spending and finances during your journey. You can connect all of your relevant accounts and credit cards directly to the app, giving you a one-stop overview of your fiscal situation. Mint also breaks down your recent spending by category, which is perfect for travelers who have budgeted specific amounts for numerous services during their trip. The rundowns are presented in elegant, easily-readable graphs to give you complete control over your hard-earned vacation cash.

Kayak

There are myriad options available for your smartphone that search for hotels, flights, and rental cars, but Kayak offers the convenience of searching all the major discount sites at once and providing you with an ingenious price comparison for all the alternatives. Kayak users never have to worry about letting a better deal slip away, as one simple search is all it takes to uncover the lowest available price. Some helpful additional features include the ability to store your search data in your account for frequent destinations, dozens of global currency options, and iCloud sync for iOS users, so that packing lists and autofill settings can be shared across devices.

Wherever your summer travels are taking you, consider enrolling in a defensive driving or traffic school course before filling up the tank and hitting the road. These courses are informative and important even for drivers with decades of experience, and as an added bonus, many insurance providers offer discounts upon completion, and some court systems will waive traffic tickets that can otherwise sully your pristine driving record.

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Tags: apps, car, driving, road, trip

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