As we traveled cross country on our 2600 miles, 10-day family road trip to Ontario, Canada we found our smart phones indispensable in making our trip a little smoother. With the assistance of GPS capability, a map app, the RoadAhead app and Yelp applications, we were able to enhance the overall organization and quality of our time on the road mostly by avoiding the formerly common incidents of not being able to find a restaurant, gas station, rest stop or lodging when we needed it.
I have found RoadAhead to be an oh-so-smart road travel tool. The GPS enabled app is set up to determine your location and tell you exactly what is to be expected at upcoming exits off major freeways and highways in the United States, in such detail as to tell you how far off the freeway the business is (such as gas station or restaurant) and it can even compare gas prices at gas stations at other exits. Plus it shows the location of rest stops and picnic areas (to let the dogs out too!).
As we traveled cross the United States, we found this app invaluable. It made it extremely easy to decide where we would eat, have bathroom breaks, refuel and find a hotel.
RoadAhead (a free app, btw) links to Yelp for local business reviews, ratings and the establishment’s general information. Yelp has been around since 2004. If you are not familiar with it, it is time to download the app to your smart phone. It provides yellow pages’ type local listings by business type (anything from mechanics to restaurants, to clubs to hair salons) though the really useful part is that Yelp gives real ratings and comments from real users. This is particularly useful when you find yourself in a location that that you are not familiar with. You can do it the old-fashioned way by going up to a stranger and asking them where to eat, but this app might just be more reliable!
With all this great technology I really wonder how my parents did it. What I do remember, however, from my family road trips are a lot of ripped maps, crosswords and having to relieve ourselves on the side of the road. Ah, memories…