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If you carry a smartphone or tablet, chances are you’ve found a variety of apps the enhance virtually every activity, and traveling is no different. Listed below are some travel apps that might help you and your family not only pass the time in peace, but make good use of the landscapes through which you are passing.
Also, here’s a great article from Yahoo on travel apps that will appeal to the whole family while on a road trip. I’ve already downloaded several of them for Sully to play with when he’s not hanging his head out the window!
Route Planning Apps
Roadtrippers is a fun website, as well as a free iOs and Android app that will tell you about lodging and attractions along your route. They even have pre-planned routes like “Route 66” and “Film Locations,” if you’re looking for next year’s vacation ideas!
Sit or Squat – (Free iOS and Android) Finding clean restrooms was my mother’s main goal on our vacations as a kid. Well, Mom’s having no problems finding clean ones in heaven these days, but I’d be willing to bet she would have loved Charmin Toilet Paper’s app. It’s easy to use – you’ll find “green” toilet paper rolls, marking “Sit” locations on a map, or “red” toilet paper rolls, marking “Squat” locations to avoid! Well, you can’t get much more literal than that – I just love today’s technology!
Gas Buddy – (Free iOS and Android) – want to find the cheapest gas near you? Gas Buddy will tell you about three types of fuel at stations based on your location. If you find prices that aren’t registered on Gas Buddy, you can update the app for them. There’s nothing like saving a buck on fossil fuels to increase your traveling distance!
Dog Park Apps
Dog Park Finder Plus – (iOS for $1.99) This is a great app for iPhones and iPod Touch that will quickly show you on a map where you can find dog parks, dog friendly beaches and even dog friendly dining. Check it out in the iTunes Store.
Dog Park Locator – there are many apps for specific cities (and European countries, for some reason?!) that tell you where to find a dog park, but Dog Park Locator was the only one I could find that was somewhat useful for the entire United States. I will, however, say that it wasn’t very current and not specific at all – the app opens with a map and you must continually swipe the screen to look for your area and its possible dog parks. I would actually like to create my own app (future project!) using all of the information I’ve gathered here at Photo Tripping America on the “Dog Parks” portion of my Resource page. Dog friendly parks are listed there by state, with links to each park and a map and address – definitely more than Dog Park Locator offers at this time. But in a pinch, this app is somewhat useful.
Emergency Vet Finder – (free app for Android and iOs) – I love this app! For starters, it gives you a variety of ways to look for emergency animal care while on the road. You can search by city, state or zip code (if you know it!) Many other apps just search by zip code, which to me doesn’t make sense – how often are you going to know the zip code of the section of a large city you are traveling through or, for that matter, a small town on the way to Grandma’s house? This app also gives you instant map access to take you directly to the veterinarian in the area, with the address readily available. The only thing I feel would be a welcome and needed addition would be the vet’s phone number.
Roadside Attraction Apps
America’s National Parks – (free app for iOS and Android) This app includes park maps, info on park activities and even topo hiking maps for 58 national parks in the US. You can load park tour information, then use it with or without network connectivity…a must if you are hiking in the backcountry!
Accuweather – (iOS and Android) Wouldn’t it be nice to know what the weather will be like at the journey’s destination? Accuweather offers an app that will do just that, giving you minute-to-minute forecasts, severe weather alerts and more.
NOAA Weather – (free app for iOS and Android) An unofficial NOAA app, this program provides radar and forecasts for your precise location, using the GPS locator on your phone, but it is not required.
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