With the summer solstice behind us and the inevitable short winter days coming soon, you won’t be able to use the seven hottest summer apps until next year. However, there is no better time than now to hit the road and do some traveling. Explore these seven free travel apps to get the most from your phone while you’re out and about.
1. Google Maps
It’s hard to talk about traveling anywhere without mentioning some kind of map app. Google Maps makes a great travel companion by giving you spoken directions, traffic updates, and even detailed information about businesses in your area. With the stand-alone GPS going the way of the dodo, there is no better substitute than this application.
As an added bonus, both iOS and Android users can use Google Maps in offline mode with the largely unknown “OK Maps” feature.
Aside from being a must-have resource on your computer, Dropbox is also an invaluable tool while on the go. Create backups of your pictures, share a folder full of documents with the rest of the caravan, and organize your trip all in one app. iPhone | Android
What good is a car if it has an empty tank of gas? GasBuddy is a community-driven app where users enter in current gas prices for locations they have visited. This synergy amongst users makes it much easier to compare gas prices in the local area and find the best prices at a quick glance. The user interface is easy to use, and switching between a list of gas stations and a map is a breeze. iPhone | Android
4. Yahoo Weather
Nothing is worse than having a literal dark cloud hanging over your head. Avoid these problems by planning your travel days ahead of time by using the Yahoo Weather app. Yahoo Weather is not only elegant; it also provides information that is easy to read and that’s useful during travel days.
Unless you’re Walter White and you own an RV, you’ll need a place to crash during your travels. If you’re avoiding hotels like the plague, Airbnb can help you find houses or apartments that can be rented from real people. Staying at a cozy home, instead of a bedbug-ridden hotel, usually makes for a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. iPhone | Android
Most aspects of your trek have been covered with the apps above—except for food! It can sometimes be a daunting task to find the right place to eat when you visit a new place. Yelp can take out the guesswork out of finding that one hole-in-the-wall pizzeria with the best slice of pepperoni in town. And you’re not just limited to restaurants! Find trustworthy auto mechanics, the cleanest hotels, and pretty much any other type of business.
7. Siri & Google Now
While they’re not technically “apps,” Siri and Google Now can be life savers while you’re on the go—especially if you’re driving long distances. On iOS, simply press and hold the home button to have Siri listen to commands. Tell her (or, as of iOS 7, him) a wide array of commands such as: “Text my wife that I’m driving, and I can’t answer the phone,” “Remind me to stop for gas in 20 minutes,” or even “How far are we from Disneyland?”
If you’re on Android, simply say, “Ok Google” (on certain Android phones) to have your phone start listening to you. At that point, you can repeat some of the same commands that you can give Siri. In addition, you can ask: “What is the flight status of [insert flight number],” or “What is this song?” to have it tell you the current song on the radio. All in all, there are over 70 different commands that you can run with Google Now.
These are some of the best free travel apps that I like to use, and each of them have proved to be crucial while on the go. Try them for yourself and see if they work for you. I also invite you to try the Jimdo app to build your website or write blog posts while you’re on the road. Of course, feel free to share the travel apps that you’re fond of too in the comments section. Safe travels.