The allure of the open road inspires countless Americans to hop in their car and travel across the country in search of freedom and adventure. An American institution that’s been mythologized in songs, movies, and books, no summer would be complete without taking to the road at least once. Whether you’re with a group of friends or going solo, your Android phone can be a most faithful companion. Before you top off the tank, pack up your road snacks, and wave goodbye to your favorite burrito joint, be sure to download these travel apps first
If you haven’t noticed, gas prices are steadily climbing with little relief in sight. If you’re hitting the road for a long period of time, Gas Buddy will be your best friend. The app is simple. It provides up to date gas prices for all nearby pumps on your phone’s GPS map. Knowing the right pump to go to could easily save you 25 cents or more per gallon, which will really start to add up over time.
Things can get a bit dull out on long stretches of lonely highway. Take the opportunity to catch up on some light reading by stocking up on audio books. Audible.com is the undisputed leader of digital audio books and they now have a fully functional Audible app for Android that lets you download books straight onto your phone. Set the mood for your trip with a road classic like Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, or maybe a pulse pounding thriller like Stephen King’s killer car story Christine to help keep you awake during nighttime drives.
Augmented reality is probably one of a Smartphone’s coolest capabilities. Unfortunately, very few people outside of hardcore techies have ever heard of it. In short, augmented reality, or AR, supplements your camera’s viewfinder with digital information related to your surroundings. Wikitude is an AR app that can add a high-tech edge to your road trip. Turn on Wikitude and hold it up to the grand canyon and you could access information about history, weather statistics, nearby landmarks and any number of informative tidbits. You can view a demo of Wikitude in action here.
The quality of your road trip is directly dependent on the health of your car, so take care of your wheels and be aware of any potential problems on the horizon. Torque Pro is an awesome app that allows your phone to log in to your engine’s onboard computer and displays a custom dashboard with all the usual info as well as warnings if your engine gets too hot or if the transmission fluid is getting low.
Waze is an innovative social network based around driving. Members coordinate through a shared GPS grid to inform others in real time about traffic jams, closed roads, and other perils of the road, as well as short cuts and good roadside attractions and eats. When you’re one the road, you’ll be passing through long stretches of unfamiliar territory, so it’s nice to have a community of drivers wherever you go.
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