Scout – FREE for Android and iOS
Created by road mapping experts Telenav, Scout looks like a standard sat nav solution for your phone but underneath the hood of this app is actually an incredibly powerful and essential travel tool. The app comes complete with handy features such as an award-winning voice activation as well as full integration with Trip Advisor and Foursquare. However its most useful feature is without a doubt its excellent offline mode, that enables users to download road maps from all over the world to use without internet access or even mobile reception. This can be vital if you’re attempting to navigate remote areas with inconsistent GPS reception or travelling abroad with data roaming turned off. The maps can be downloaded as countries or even specific cities to save on storage space, however only the first downloaded country is free and after that in-app purchases vary from £2.49 per country or a reasonable £8.49 for the whole world. £8.49 for a complete offline sat nav solution still works out much cheaper than your average Tom Tom unit but if you’re after a single purpose sat nav system to keep your phone out of the equation then maybe look at something like the Garmin nüviCam that not only acts as a sat nav but also has a built in-dash cam that can act as an impartial eye witness to road accidents. Unfortunately no app can predict what’s just around the corner, and a comprehensive insurance policy is still essential for any road trip. Insurance specialists like Shield have a range of cover options, giving you the peace of mind to enjoy your trip knowing you’re properly protected should the unexpected happen.
Foursquare – FREE for Android and iOS
If you think that Foursquare is dead then think again. The app seemed destined to take over the world at one point but then collapsed as people became less enamoured with broadcasting their locations, leaving the developers to oversee a complete overhaul of the app. However Foursquare is back with a vengeance and it’s no longer about ‘checking in’ it’s about ‘checking out’ the best places in cities all around the planet. Foursquare’s rebrand and rethink has now made it an essential app for any road trip by opening up a world of restaurants, bars, cafes and shops in any town that you visit. With over 60 million short reviews and a customisable search engine, that enables you to pinpoint not only restaurants by cuisine but by specific dishes, Foursquare is now set to give Trip Advisor a real run for its money. In their own words the new app ‘learns what you like and leads you to places you’ll love’. For those who can’t be bothered to take their phones out of their pockets Foursquare is now also available on Apple Watch too.
Hotel Tonight – FREE for Android and iOS
Before you set off on your road trip you may have all your accommodation organised or you may be travelling in a caravan or motorhome but life on the road is never certain and you never know when you may need a last minute hotel in an emergency. Hotel Tonight is the new jewel in the crown of last minute hotel booking. With unbeatable last minute discounts, 10-second speed bookings, handpicked top-rated hotels and 24-hour customer service Hotel Tonight should be your go to app for all last minute accommodation. Simple as that.
TuneIn Radio – FREE for Android and iOS
No road trip is complete without some tunes and no radio app is as complete as TuneIn. With over 100,000 radio stations and more than 1 million podcasts to choose from you can pack out your radio presets with thousands of stations before you even hit the road. TuneIn has a brilliantly simple and intuitive interface that now seems to have overcome all of the bugs that early iOS users experienced. Other features include real time travel and sports updates, song purchase options, Facebook integration and album artwork. For those who want a bit more control and no banner ads, TuneIn Radio Pro may be worth an upgrade, although many will be put off by the hefty £7.99 price tag. So what do you get for your money? Well going “pro” removes annoying banner ads, enables features such as rewind, record and pause for live radio shows and there is now a bitrate selector to adjust the quality of your stream. Overall whatever your musical tastes TuneIn is likely to be in tune with what you might need for your next road trip.
Waze – FREE for Android and iOS
While it may seem unnecessary to include two sat nav apps on this list, Waze offers something very different to Telenav’s Scout so is worth a mention too. If you haven’t already heard about Waze then you are in the minority because it is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. The way Waze works is by analysing data reported back by all of its users in real time so that it can provide remarkably accurate traffic information and reroute your journey second by second. Unlike Google Maps and other sat nav apps you will rarely find yourself in traffic as Waze always find a way around it. Users also provide real time updates on accidents, debris, police checks, speed cameras, petrol prices and road closures, making Waze an essential app for driving anywhere. Waze offers voice-activated controls and can also sync up with Facebook or your phone contacts to give your friends a realistic ETA or quickly find addresses. Overall an incredibly powerful app for free but all power comes at a cost and in this case it’s battery power. Don’t attempt to use this app over a long trip without some sort of charging accessory because it tends to drain 1% of an iPhone battery per minute when in full swing.
Related post: Getting your first MOT Done Before a Road Trip
Featured Image: Zach Dischner