Gadgets: Travel apps perfect for the road

  • Updated: July 5, 2014 - 2:00 PM

Along the Way, an app for iOS

apps can help plan

a perfect road trip

A smartphone screen might seem a terrible distraction on a road trip. With the right apps, though, your phone can make any road trip smoother and more memorable.

Great road trips involve seeing places you’ve never seen, but how do you know where to go? The app Along the Way, $4 on iOS, answers this question. Simply tap in your start and end points, and it will calculate a sensible route. You can select attractions for stops along the route, from a long list that includes nightlife, food, coffee, recreation and so on. You can even seek popular venues or those trending on the check-in service Foursquare. The app also offers reviews, location data and other information.

Along the Way is simple and its interface unfussy, which makes it easy to use. It could be helpful before you set off, as a kind of advanced planning tool, or you can let it advise you on the way.

There is an Android app with a similar name, but it does not come from the same company and it is much more basic.

The Roadtrippers app, free on iOS and Android, is a fabulous alternative and particularly handy if you like planning your trips in detail beforehand.

This app works a bit like Along the Way: You enter your start and end points, then the app calculates a route for you and shows you interesting or useful places and venues along the way, sorted by category.

But Roadtrippers seems to have more information on the venues, like contact details, website addresses, reviews and photos. Best of all, you can tap the “Add to trip” button to insert a favorite spot into your itinerary, so you can easily look it up later.

For a much more lighthearted road trip app, with more quirky venues highlighted, check out Roadside America, $3 on iOS. It has a more colorful and playful interface than the others and contains information on attractions like eccentric architecture and unusual places to eat. It also has fun extras like a sunset alert.

The downside to this app is that its price does not cover all of the United States and Canada; for access to more places, you have to pay about $2 per region inside the app, or $6 for all the data.

NEW YORK TIMES

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