You’ve made it an hour outside D.C. when suddenly, you feel it -- you regret getting that large coffee over the small. You panic, worried you’ll get stuck on a long stretch between exits.
Believe it or not, there’s an app for that. Yes, your phone can find a toilet for you.
I take road trips like it’s my job. Travel has always been a priority for me; I’ve had the privilege of visiting 40 countries and I have lived all across the country, as well as internationally. I can’t say no to an adventure, but after discovering these 10 apps, my trips have never been the same -- I hope yours won’t be either!
*Unless noted, all the apps are free to download*
- Flush Toilet Finder
¿Donde está el baño? Wo ist die Toilette? Where is the bathroom? Flush Toilet Finder has the answer to this necessary and universal question. There are over 190,000 toilets in its database. Need I say more?
If anyone can make driving through Nebraska fun, it’s Roadtrippers. Ranging from “The best attractions along the I-15 from California to Montana” to “See Alabama from a new angle on the Talladega Scenic Byway” to stopping off Highway 101 to see a town of fairytale cottages, Roadtrippers will plan it all.
So you made a bet with the car next to you about who can go the longest without gas and you lost. Think of Urgent.ly as your superhero from the world in which this bet seemed like a good idea. It’s like an Uber for roadside assistance. You will be able to track the progress of your roadside assistant on your phone and there will be a record of his or her location at all times.
- 1 Second Everyday
If you haven’t seen one of these video diaries, watch this. If you are a frequent traveler or just believe you live an exciting, documentable life, 1 Second Everyday is a creative way to document your trips. But please, don’t make your friends watch a 4-second video of your 4-day trip. That’s what Instagram is for. ($4.99 on iOS, free on android)
Say it with me, citizens of D.C., “I’m [your name] and I have road rage”. While there is no medication for road rage yet, there is an app that can mitigate some of the symptoms. Waze is a community-based navigation app to get you where you need to go as fast as possible. Best of all, you get a cute little character to represent you on the Waze map.
Gasbuddy will direct you to the cheapest gas on the road, saving you a good chunk of change. It will also estimate total gas costs at the beginning of a trip, so your passengers can chip in before you hit the road and won’t get away with contributing $5 like they assume everyone drives a Prius. Just for Fun: Check out this article from Gasbuddy about a distressed Oregonian who is indignant about having to pump his own gas and claims to have almost died. Oregon, we believe in you.
- Open Table
This one’s for the vegan/gluten-free diners out there, who can’t eat at just any restaurant. With Open Table, you can browse restaurants and cuisines within your vicinity and make reservations directly from your phone.
It’s all fun and games until it isn’t fun anymore and you’re snatched up by demogorgons and end up in the Upside Down. bSafe is here to protect you. “Never walk alone again,” they say. The second you hit the alarm button, the camera will start recording and the video and your location will be sent to selected friends. You can also have a friend “follow you home” remotely via GPS (less creepy than it sounds) and even get your phone to call you, so you can hightail it out of a sticky situation—or a bad first date.
I’m a self-proclaimed great parallel parker. I don’t admit I’m great at many things, but if they had parallel parking competitions that would be my thing. That being said, parking in a new city makes me sweat. Parkmobile will allow you to reserve a spot, pay, and extend your parking meter. No more running back to your car halfway through a lunch date to put quarters in the meter. I’ll let you know when an app comes out that will parallel park your car for you.
Maybe after reading this article, all you can think about is where to get a cold beer when arrive at your destination. There’s an app for that, too. Untappd won’t find you just any beer. It will find you that specific Sculpin from San Diego that you deserve after a long day. You can also keep track of the beers you taste for next time—a beer diary of sorts, if you will.