Long road trips can be painful, especially at this time of year. My family makes the trek from Southern California to Northern California several times every year, and I always dread our time on the road. Luckily, things have been getting easier, thanks to technology. There are a whole host of apps you can download to your smart phone that keep you organized, informed, and entertained. Here are the apps your family should download before you hit the road this holiday season.
Packing Pro 1 of 7
Even though we've been taking road trips for years, I always forget something crucial...or, I used to, until I downloaded the Packing Pro app. It helps you make lists by organizing what you'll need for each person in your family, making suggestions based on age, location of trip, etc. I like that I can store my lists, so I'll always remember the little things that make staying with my in-laws more comfortable.
GasBuddy 2 of 7
I hate paying too much for gas, but on a road trip you are often stuck with whatever gas station is closest to the highway. With Gas Buddy, you can find the gas stations nearest to your location and see their current gas prices. I like to compare prices and go to the cheapest station (obviously), and it's nice to eliminate the uncertainty of "maybe there's a gas station at this offramp..."
Waze 3 of 7
Waze is the world's largest community-based traffic and navigation app. It gives spoken step-by-step directions, and when a hazard is approaching, it warns you. I am obsessed with this app - it's so convenient to know there's construction causing traffic to slow-down, or that an accident has the two left lanes blocked. We use it on all of our road trips when we're on unfamiliar roads.
TripStop 4 of 7
The TripStop app is amazing. Just enter your final destination into the app, pick your route, specify where and when you want to stop, and then get directions to your chosen location. It's perfect for when you have a hankering for something specific - say, In-N-Out Burger, but you have no idea where you are or where to search for one. Just look for it in the TripStop app and you'll be eating that double-double-animal-style-extra-pickles in no time.
Hotel Tonight 5 of 7
This app is great for those nights when you're just too tired to keep driving, but you don't have a hotel room reservation anywhere. Hotel Tonight offers unsold hotel rooms at up to 70% off the normal price, and you can book it right from your phone!
Open Table 6 of 7
I love Open Table when I'm hungry in an unfamiliar city. It's great for telling you what restaurants are nearby and have space for your party, plus it has restaurant information, reviews, and everything else you might possibly want to know. I even use this app to make reservations when I'm at home!
Toca Hair Salon Me 7 of 7
My almost 4-year-old daughter is absolutely obsessed with this app, and she's not the only one! This amazing app from Toca Boca inserts a photo of whoever you'd like right into the game, and then you get to style his or her hair. The app takes the extra step and actually animates the face! It's amazing. My daughter would have played with this app on the entire seven-hour drive to San Francisco if I'd let her...but I wanted a turn, too!