Technology can be a wonderful thing, and I am amazed at the free apps that are available to make our life on the road easier and more enjoyable. There are many times when we are driving down the road and just need a break. You, of course, could pull into a Rest Stop, but what if you want more?
In addition to needing a break, you may need to find the nearest pharmacy or supermarket. Fortunately, there are several free or low-cost apps to help you find what’s nearby. We started using Around Me before we ever purchased a RV. In fact, we were in Washington DC for a few days and used the application frequently to find nearby restaurants, banks, pharmacies or convenience stores. Around Me and IExit provide very similar capabilities and as I test the results of both systems sitting side by side I see very few differences. I hope you never need to find the nearest hospital when you are on the road, but if you do, either will list all acute care facilities from closest to furthest from your current location. Click on any of them, and instantly get directions to that location. Which app you use will likely come down to personal preference, but since they are both free for both iPhones and Androids you could always download both.
Looking for the Off Beat?
Another app we like a lot is called RoadsideAmerica. I must like it, I plunked down $5.99 for it. Unfortunately, the app is only available for IOS, but if you want to find the world’s largest ball of twine or a 3-way Electric Plug Sculpture this is the app for you. While driving through South Dakota last summer we needed a break. By using this app we were able to find Porter’s Sculpture Park just a few miles ahead. Now, in all honesty, we likely would have stopped anyway when we saw the 60’ metal bull head sculpture in a paster, just off the highway, but the app does provide a basic description, directions, hours, admission fees, reviews and a link to the attraction’s website. Keep in mind this application focuses on the off-beat. As I search for locations near Casa Grande, AZ (our current location) I find a dwarf car museum, the pork shop propane tank pig, an ostrich ranch and the pyramid tomb of Father Arizona all within a 30-minute drive. And they say Casa Grande is in the middle of nowhere. (Note, the same information is available on the RoadsideAmerica website. So if you know your route, you could plug-in the name of a town you expect to drive by to get the same information.)
Planning a Road Trip?
Finally, if like me you want a little more advance planning, explore the RoadTrippers app or website. The app is free on both IOS or Android and allows you to plan your day trip in advance. Enter a starting point and destination and select hotels, attractions, natural wonders and/or weird stuff. The app not only charts your course, and provides estimated drive time, but also highlights places of interest along the way. Perhaps you have a re-positioning day that only requires a 2 or 3-hour drive. Finding museums, gardens or wacky places along the way gives you something to look forward as you head down the highway.
The apps above are just a few of those we use. If this information was helpful, let us know and we’ll share more information in future posts.