How to Have the Road Trip of a Lifetime
Why not make your next vacation a road one? Here are a few essential tips and apps to make the ride a smooth one.
Let Your Apps Guide You
From tunes to eats, use your phone or tablet along the way. Here are some great apps for the road:
PackPoint will ask you to answer a few questions — Who are you? Where are you going? What for? And when? It’ll then gather data on the weather, cross-reference your activities and tell you what to pack. Road trips call for comfortable clothes, snacks, walking shoes and sunglasses!
If you’re not much of a planner and you like to be spontaneous as you drive through new cities and towns, Field Trip is your guide to interesting and hidden things around you. It tells you the (honestly, really fascinating) history behind buildings near you, what great attractions are nearby, where to eat within a short walk… it’ll even tell you where celebrities live and show you pics. It shows everything on a map, with color-coded cards along the bottom that have useful pics of nearby places. It pulls in all the info you need, including Zagat reviews, hours, prices, etc. and gives a great context to an area, so you can stay spontaneous and learn about the places you’re visiting while on-the-go.
Whether you’re planning ahead or you find yourself on a different route than expected, use an app like Along The Way (iPhone) and On The Way (Android) to map out your route and the restaurants, gas stations, tourist attractions and hotels along the way.
Did you know that you can download your favorite books on WiFi via the Audible app (here’s a free trial) before you head out? You can listen to them with headphones, or share the experience with the whole car over the speakers. I, of course, recommend downloading the 50th Anniversary edition audiobook of On The Road (narrated by Will Patton, one of the best narrators out there) and listening to it while driving. Here’s the synopsis, in case you’re not already familiar:
Few novels have had as profound an impact on American culture as Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Pulsating with the rhythms of 1950s underground America, jazz, sex, illicit drugs, and the mystery and promise of the open road, Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “beat” and has inspired generations of writers, musicians, artists, poets, and seekers who cite their discovery of the book as the event that “set them free”.
Based on Kerouac’s adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose four cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience. Written with a mixture of sad-eyed naïveté and wild abandon, and imbued with Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz, On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed anyone who has ever picked it up.
It’s not a road trip without snacks. But, only eating junk food will leave you feeling bloated and blah. In addition to your go-to sweet snacks, pack a variety of nuts, granola bars, dried fruit and wheat-based crackers. When you stop for something more substantial, plan ahead using an app like Clean Plates or Food Tripping. Clean Plates lets you browse nearby eating options, and you can even filter by cuisine, price and diet. Food Tripping focuses on finding local, sustainable stops like farmers’ markets, juice bars and green eateries.
It may be tempting to eat junk food while on the road, but in order to keep your strength (and mood) up, it’s more important than ever to find healthy plant-based meals while on the road. Thankfully, HappyCow is the perfect app for this. It caters to herbivores and healthy eaters on the go, letting you search by area for healthy restaurants wherever you’re traveling.
One of the nicest things you can do for your parents (no matter what age you are), is use a postcard app to send your family and friends postcards along the way. Just take a great photo, write a quick message, and the app will print and mail it for you for between $1 and $3 per postcard, depending on the app you choose.
Need a bathroom ASAP? If this is the classic problem of the road trip, Sit or Squat is your best friend. This app will locate the nearest restrooms, rate their cleanliness, and make your pit stops quick and easy.