In the olden days, it was a competition to see who could spot the first billboard advertising the needed stop on the family road trip. But now, with a smartphone in nearly every hand in the car, plus a media console with brains of its own, all the driver has to do is ask the question from road trip apps and the answers appear–where is the closest Bass Pro Shop? Is there a Dairy Queen at the next exit? And the big one: Is it possible there’s a CLEAN bathroom nearby?
Recently we chatted with TravelingMom writers and got their best road trip apps that will keep everyone happy and answer critical quests on your next road trip.
iExit is a favorite among TravelingMoms; it tells you what services are at the next highway exit.
Deb Jamtot, Technology TravelingMom, said, “I used iExit quite a bit on our road trip last summer. It was really helpful in finding places to stop when our youngest had to use the bathroom ‘right now!’, and also for finding food and gas along the way.”
Angela Tiffin, History Buff TMOM wrote 7 Free Apps for Your Next Road Trip and said that Trapster, which warns about speed traps, red light camera and check points “was good but it is dependent upon others participation. But it will tell you the known spots to look out for. It does suck up a lot of phone battery. “
SitOrSquat has a database of 100,000 public restrooms across the country, with cleanliness ratings. Angela pointed out a drawback of SitOrSquat; it covers mostly cities.
For families that like to try to get as far as possible and don’t want to be limited by hotel reservations when they might get in another 50 miles, DrivingTravelingMom, Scotty Reiss, finds Hotels.Com‘s mobile app indispensible. It offers a feature called “Tonight’s Local Deals” that collects hotel deals on the hotels in your immediate area, and often rooms can be had for 50% or more off the regular rate. This is also a great app if you find your trip waylaid by traffic and construction and decide to end the day’s drive early.
If anyone has tried out AlongtheWay, which helps you find interesting places to stop along your route, let us know; if you have other good road trips apps you’ve road tested, please comment below.