Summer is in full swing. The sun is out, the clouds are gone, and it’s generally warmer. That is, unless you live in San Francisco, in which case you’re still dealing with clouds and wind. The rest of us are probably gearing up for a Summer road trip to, well, to wherever it is that you feel like driving.
Road trips can be fun, but they can also be hectic/boring/confusing at times. There’s nothing like driving through strange new locales to really ruffle your feathers. For all you road-trippers out there with iPhones, here’s a list of the Top 11 Road Trippin’ iPhone apps available for free or less than a couple bucks. Help yourself pack, keep your sanity on the road or just find a good place to bunk for the night. Enjoy!
(All apps are free unless otherwise noted)
This isn’t a “road trip” app, per se. But, Google Earth is great for looking up satellite imagery for any locale on planet Earth. Take a peek at that national monument you’re about to visit, or see what the Grand Canyon looks like from space. Either way, Google Earth is a must-have for any road trippin’ iPhone.
Let’s face it. The most annoying part of any trip can be the packing. Some people like to pack over the course of a few days, and others like to shotgun the entire process overnight. I’ve tried doing it both ways and I always manage to forget something – tootbrush, cellphone charger, camera, sunglasses. uPackingList is a free iPhone app that helps you pack everything you’ll need for your upcoming road trip. The app comes with 300 carefully thought-out items, and allows you to create unlimited lists. As soon as you’re done creating a list, start packing and checking off the items in your list with a few simple taps!
Now, with all that mileage tracking and fuel cost-minimizing, you’re not going to burn it all up with a lead foot. Are you? Okay, fine. We would too. Might as well try to keep those speeding tickets to a minimum then. Trapster can help you with that. The Trapster iPhone app keeps a crowd-sourced database of speed traps and speed/red-light cameras and notifies you when you come within distance of any potential traps.
Road trips can be fun. They can also be boring – as in hundreds of miles worth of boring. That’s especially bad when you have kids in the back seat. When the radio ceases to be entertaining and you’re on your whisper of sanity, fire up iSpy Game for your iPhone and give it to your kids. The game isn’t the most advanced in terms of graphics or the like, but it’s sure to keep your kids distracted for a good while. Or, if you don’t have kids, it’ll keep you busy for at least a few minutes.
Note: This game costs $0.99
Road Trip Lite
Managing your road trip expenses can be a headache, but it doesn’t have to be. Road Trip Lite turns your iPhone into a road trip expense tracker – keep tabs on your fuel economy, fuel prices and maintenance costs. Road Trip Lite supports partial fill-ups and features international support. Road Trip Lite is especially useful for groups to divvy up road trip expenses amongst several people.
The name says it all. Since you’re already tracking your fuel expenses with Road Trip Lite, you might as well try to minimize your costs with the cheapest possible gas. For that, you need Cheap Gas! for iPhone. It’s location-aware, so you’ll always find the nearest gas station with, well, cheap gas!
This one’s for all you annoyingly-organized road-trippers out there. Trip It for iPhone is a great itinerary manager that automatically compiles an itinerary of your various trips. Simply forward any and all travel confirmation emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and Trip It will generate a master itinerary, complete with maps and driving directions. You can even email your itineraries to friends and family to keep them in the loop.
Whether you’re out in the middle of nowhere with only GPRS data service on your iPhone, or your friends need WiFi connectivity because they’re going insane without an internet connection, Wi-Fi Finder is here to help. It does what it says – it finds WiFi hotspots near your current location. Wi-Fi Finder draws on a database of over 200,000 WiFi hotspots around the globe, so chances are good you’ll be fairly close to a free WiFi hotspot.
Even the hardest-core road-trippers out there need to eat and drink. Don’t bet your hunger on the next pit-stop off the highway. Use Urbanspoon to find restaurants near you, searchable by price, cuisine and even neighborhood. Urbanspoon is a great app to have whether you’re on a road trip or don’t even own a car.
While Trapster might help you avoid speeding tickets, there’s no guarantee that your road trip will be accident free. In fact, there’s probably a higher chance of getting into an accident when you’re speeding, so keep that in mind.
We hope you never have to use this app, but if you happen to find yourself in an auto accident, the first thing you should do is fire up iWrecked. Actually, first check to make sure everyone is alright, then launch iWrecked. This handy iPhone app helps you completely document (with photos) your recent accident. You can even email an accident report from the scene. Then, when you’re done documenting the mess you just made, use iWrecked to find a tow and some help.
Okay, so your plan to drive for three days straight isn’t panning out like you had planned. What do you do? Find the nearest crap-motel and sleep on a bed that might leave you with some nasty diseaes? At the very best, you’ll be overpaying for a night’s rest.
You’re better off using HotelsByMe to find hotels in your area. HotelsByMe will find you all the hotels in your area, broken down by price, star-level and distance. The app will help you book a room online or over the phone, and even provides driving directions.
AT&T Navigator for iPhone
So this would technically be the 12th iPhone Road Tripping app, but who’s counting?
Google Maps on the iPhone does a swell job of plotting directions, but it can’t do turn-by-turn navigation. For that, you’ll need third-party software. Now, unless you plan to use turn-by-turn GPS navigation frequently on your iPhone, you’re best bet is going to be AT&T’s monthly navigation subscription. Use it only for the months when you take road trips and save the $9.99/mo. when you’re stuck at work. The download is free, but AT&T will tack on an extra $10/month to use the AT&T Navigator iPhone app.
Note: This app requires a monthly subscription fee.
As long as we’re not counting, here’s the 13th and final iPhone app that you’ll probably want to take with you on your next road trip. ClickonRadio Lite offers users an easy way to find local radio stations around the country. You can discover stations by GPS, zip code or city name. Then, when you want to find out what song was playing in the past 20 minutes on a particular radio station, ClickonRadio Lite will deliver broadcast listings from 2600+ radio stations in the US.
That’s it! Have a fun and safe road trip. We do not condone speeding, drinking and driving, or anything else that can get your butt in hot water.