The AAA estimates more than 92 million Americans will be on the road during the holiday period between December 23rd and January 2nd, 3.1% more than last year. There is a mind-boggling selection of iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry apps to download that will help make your driving and travel less stressful and perhaps even more safe.
These are my five picks for the best travel apps for holiday road trips, and any time, holiday or not.
1. Weatherbug – This app combines the simplicity of Apple’s Weather app with a few extras for your phone. It’s the largest network of professional weather stations in the US and the only source for truly live, local weather wherever you are or want to go. That’s important anytime, but especially when there is a major snowstorm dumping on the Sierras and Rockies.
2. BePut – This App lets you share your whereabouts with people you want to find you, like the cousin you are trying to hook up with in Disneyland, or the friend who might be waiting for you at the wrong airport baggage carousel or highway rest stop. With the touch of a button, you can send an email or text message to your cousin or buddy with your exact location, and the recipient gets a special, secure FindMe Key. Saves time and stress from all those “where are you now” texts and phone calls.
3. Trapster — Useful for anytime you are driving, Labor Day or not, this App tells you about police speed traps. It’s counter-intuitive, but Trapster is becoming a favorite tool of police. They want you to know where the speed traps are, so you slow down. Trapster actually encourages its 6.4 million downloaders to slow down and drive more safely. That makes it a true safe driving.
4. Arrived OK — Instead of calling everybody you know while you’re waiting for the aisles to clear so you can get off the plane, you can notify everybody on your pre-set call list automatically, when you turn the smart phone back on at landing. Arrived OK works in the USA and in selected countries in Europe.
5. Skobbler — This is a free app that features the same kind of voice-assisted turn-by-turn navigation in new cars, and a great tool for those of you in older vehicles with no Navi system, or one that doesn’t talk to you. Typically, Apps with such street-level functionality are on the pricey side, but Skobbler uses something called OpenStreetMap, an open-source mapping system that MacWorld calls “the Wikipedia of maps.”
With or without these driving and travel Apps, please keep your eyes on the road and drive safely this Labor Day weekend.
by Evelyn Kanter