Before you know it, it'll be time to hit the road for summer travel. And your smartphone should always ride shotgun, thanks to the number of Android and iOS apps out that can help you handle everything from navigation to trip planning. Try out some of these apps on your next road trip to make your next drive a hassle-free experience. (Photo Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock)
Designed to make it easier to use your apps and phone services while on the road, Android Auto used to be the province of cars with connected dashboard displays, but you can use Android Auto's simplified interface and voice commands straight from your phone's screen. Just mount your Android phone on a cradle or lock, and you're all set. Android Auto is designed to work with Google Maps, Play Music, and numerous other apps to help you navigate, control music playback, answer your phone or send off quick replies without becoming a distracted driver. With expanded Google Assistant controls, Android Auto just keeps getting better and better. At its developer conference this year, Google said to expect an Android Auto redesign later this summer.
Waze (Android, iOS) is a crowd-sourced traffic map and navigation app. Users can check out traffic conditions based on real-time information from other Waze users, complete with reports on road hazards, accidents, speed traps and more. You can also actively report any incidents you encounter. Best of all, Waze includes guided turn-by-turn navigation that take traffic conditions into account.
Long road trips mean you're going to need to fill up multiple times, so finding inexpensive gasoline and reliable filling stations is a must. Motorists in the USA and Canada stand to save some serious change with GasBuddy (Android, iOS), a mobile app that helps users track down the cheapest nearby gas station based on their present location. As many of the prices are based on user reports, GasBuddy rewards users with points for reporting and updating a station's prices. Those points make you eligible for regular raffles of prizes, like free gas. Brave early adopters of electric vehicles can instead give Plugshare (Android, iOS) a try: it lets you look up and review nearby charging stations for your electric car.
Road tolls can add an unexpected chunk to your travel costs. TollSmart (Android, iOS) is a neat trip-planning app that allows you to quickly look up the price of all toll bridges, roadways, and tunnels from start to destination. The app allows you to create profiles for a variety of vehicles from the family sedan all the way up to nine-axle vehicles to calculate vehicle-based toll rates. The app also includes support for a variety of transponder-based systems like E-ZPass. Users can automatically log in toll rates in the app's TollTracker system for easy expense report logging. An in-app purchase provides you the ability to compare tolls across multiple proposed routes.
Another handy trip planning and toll assistant app is TollGuru (Android, iOS), which helps users calculate the cheapest and fastest toll routes, as well as estimates of fuel consumption based on your vehicle. Simply set your starting point and destination, and the app can help you figure out the fastest or cheapest route (integrating with other navigation apps), show you the applicable tolls, and even factor in tolls at departure time for peak and off-peak rates, factoring in payment options like cash or transponder tags. Users can save the make and model of their vehicle, edit MPG fuel efficiency rates, and even set fuel prices to estimate their costs. The app covers the USA, Canada, and India.
Need to grab a bite to eat, withdraw some cash from an ATM, or catch some winks before the next leg of your road trip? iExit Interstate Exit Guide (Android, iOS) helps you plan your next pitstop, displaying handy pictographs of businesses and amenities in upcoming interstate exits. Users can search for specific businesses, display locations on an on-screen map, view gas prices, or find amenities like Wi-Fi, truck parking or campgrounds.
Drivvo (Android, iOS) functions as a helpful car maintenance logbook, helping users log in details like fuel consumption, odometer readings, and any preventive maintenance measures and repairs. You can record your gas top-ups, expenses, and set reminders for repairs, servicing and regular maintenance. The app also includes a crowd-sourced feature for finding out the cheapest gas prices near you. The app is free and ad-supported, with a premium subscription removing advertising and providing extras like cloud synchronization across multiple devices and data export.