Making like a Griswald and taking your vacation on the road this summer? Forgo the cumbersome maps and kitschy sing-along songs you associate with the dark ages and instead load up your phone with five apps that will have you cruising smoothly down the highway.
Google Maps – iOS, Android
It seems obvious, doesn’t it? Of course you should have Google Maps on your phone. Doesn’t everybody? It’s totally obvious until you take the wrong exit and end up at a dead end in the middle of nowhere. Don’t take it for granted that your phone will automatically have a map app, and even if it does, ensure that you’ve enabled the Google Location Services so that you can use your device as a GPS. It doesn’t help if you have the app but you won’t allow it to show you where you are.
Spotify – iOS, Android
Forgot to load your phone with great music and now you’re stuck listening to your friend’s Celine Dion CD, the one she found in the dashboard, on repeat? Your heart might go on, but your ears will give up. With Spotify, your travel playlist will be as extensive as and eclectic as your own musical tastes, and if you don’t feel like playing DJ, just queue up one of Spotify’s curated playlists and let the app do the work. You’ll have to listen to a few 30-sescond advertisements here and there (or you can subscribe for a monthly fee and listen uninterrupted), but it’s a small price to pay to have nearly unlimited music selections at your fingertips.
Urban Spoon – iOS, Android
If you’re visiting a new city, don’t play Russian roulette with your meals. One of the great joys of exploring new places is sampling the local cuisine, and you don’t want to use up limited opportunities on bland pub food or overpriced fare that’s quality doesn’t match the price. With Urban Spoon, you can search the city you’re in by price, location and rating, so you can find a meal that suits your purposes and your budget. Skip the fast food route and try something new.
Postagram – iOS, Android
Add a personal touch to your photo sharing with this app, which allows you to send a customized postcard to friends and family. You take the photo, add a message and let Postagram handle the rest. Your creation will be sent, in physical form, anywhere in North America and even overseas. In a world of Facebook and Instagram, a personalized touch like this can go a long way in making someone special feel exactly that.
Field Trip – iOS, Android
For the explorer of the group, Field Trip digs up obscure hyperlocal info and delivers it right to your phone. Whether it’s the history of a small town or the location of the must-visit shopping spot, this app can turn even the most modest of towns into a wealth of entertainment and facts. If you’re the type to go looking for the world’s largest perogy, or you’d be delighted to learn about the testicle festival (this is a real thing in Calgary, Alberta), this is the app for you.