The summer is always a popular time to travel and take a well-deserved vacation. Now that a lot of us travel with smartphones and other mobile devices, here are a few useful apps I would recommend giving a try the next time you hit the road.
Vacations are expensive, but one area where you can save a couple of bucks is at the tank. GasBuddy helps you do just that. You can sort gas stations near you by distance or price to find your best option. There also are links for directions to those stations, which is very convenient if you are in an unfamiliar location.
Another cool feature is that the prices are all reported by users, and you can earn points for confirming or submitting a change to the gas price through the app. These points can then be used to win gas. GasBuddy is by no means a new app; the first website came out in 2000, according to the company. It has evolved throughout the years and have a polished user friendly app.
Anchor Pointer (Available for iOS)
You are downtown in the big city for a huge sporting event. (Maybe the NBA finals? Go Cavs!) The traffic is horrendous. You park a mile away from the venue and after the game lets out, and the “where did I park my car?!” panic takes over. Every parking garage you see looks just like the next. That is where Anchor Pointer can help!
Anchor point saves the coordinates you set, and with the click of a button will lead you back to the coordinate you set either via GPS map or compass. It just takes the click of a button to save the coordinates (hit the “Park Car” button) and then, when you are leaving, hit the “Find Car” button. It also lets you save additional anchor points into a list, and you also can meet up with friends using the app with the “Meet Friend” button. Whenever you are done, you have the option to remove the anchor point. Though there are many similar apps, I chose this one because of its simple and straightforward controls.
In the era of online reviews, it is easy to influence the perception of restaurants and other businesses thanks to the opinions of a bunch
of online strangers. What if one of those establishments sounds enticing? Use this app to book a table for one of the available reservation slots, and then show up at that time and eat. It's as simple as that. You just need to set up an account or sign in with Facebook and you are on your way.
This is an excellent app because if you are in an area where you are not familiar with the local cuisine, you can read reviews and make reservations in one app. You also earn points for using Open Table for reservations, and once you get to a certain threshold they can be applied towards discounts on future meals.
CarTunes (Available for iOS)
What is a road trip without some good tunes? I am a big music fan, and I always like to have my phone on shuffle for long car rides. CarTunes turns your whole iPhone screen into a gesture-based music player. Some of the gestures take a bit of practice to get used to, but at the core it is swipe left or right to switch songs and tap the screen to pause/play. This app does take a bit of a toll on the phone battery since it keeps the screen on, so it is recommended to plug it in to a car charger if you are on a long drive. The app is easy to use and features a distraction free interface that makes it great for loading a playlist or shuffling your music library for a road trip.