4 Essential Apps for a Great Road Trip

Monday, 16 September 2013

With holiday prices now dropping after the summer high season, there’s still time for one last road trip before autumn arrives in force. Before embarking on your road trip it’s always good to remember a few essentials. Getting your car checked over, carefully planning a route and stocking up on snacks are all important, but if you really want to add an extra dimension to your trip, try downloading these nifty apps to your smartphone:

1. SmileDrive

Volkswagen and Google have recently launched an app, Smiledrive, designed to add social fun to any road trip. It connects to the car’s Bluetooth and runs in the background to record journeys. Drivers earn ‘stickers’ by accomplishing certain things: for example driving 'long-haul', or early in the morning. You can also create a Smilecast, tagging passengers via Google+ and sharing the journey with your other friends via social media.

2. Waze

Sat nav app Waze draws on user-generated data to provide real time information about everything from traffic congestion to where to find the cheapest petrol, making it a handy tool to have when you’re on a driving holiday. It’s possible to report accidents hands-free, and the app collects speed data to gauge whether you're currently stuck in a traffic jam.

3. Pandora

Gone are the days of painstakingly putting together mix tapes for the car journey. Music streaming sites like Pandora and Spotify make it easy to stream your favourite music straight to your radio. Unlike Spotify, Pandora allows you to stream music remotely for free: as long as you have a 3G connection. Simply type in a few of your favourite songs, and the app takes care of the rest by playing similar music.

4. Hotel Tonight

If you’re a spontaneous person you’ll be glad to hear that there are apps, like Hotel Tonight, which allow you to book a last-minute hotel from the road. According to the Hotel Tonight website, they have a number of hotels in seven UK cities. ABC News tested the app and found that it's usually cheaper than Expedia, but warns that the choices are limited due to the last-minute nature of the app.

Finally, if you are planning a road trip holiday, take a look at the Breakdown Recovery options available to add to your Swiftcover car insurance policy, which can help you to get back on the road in the event of mechanical issues.

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