There’s no better way to spend the holidays than cozy at home with your fam jam… but sometimes that’s easier said than done. Whether you’re packing the car with kiddos, dogs or this season’s hottest gifts for him and her, road-tripping home for the holidays can be downright frightful if you’re not properly prepared. Luckily, there’s an app for that (isn’t there always?). Here are 11 must-downloads that’ll keep you safe (and sane) on your annual holiday road trip.
1. Turo: Don’t fret if your Mini Cooper won’t survive the winter roads ahead — this cool app makes it easy to rent a car from your local community of car owners. Because you’re renting directly from your neighbors instead of a big corporation, most transactions can end up saving you upwards of 30 percent (plus, every trip has over $1 million in liability insurance).
2. TollSmart: Want to figure out how much all those annoying tolls are going to cost you before you make the big trip back home? For less than the cost of a Starbucks holiday drink, a quick download gets unlimited access to this handy tech that calculates all toll costs across tunnels, bridges and toll roads in the US.
3. Roadtrippers: If you’re looking to satisfy the squirming kiddos with a short pitstop (be it at a local diner or with a gorg scenic viewpoint), this free app is definitely a must. Not only can you quickly check out millions of places, but you can share and edit your plans with others so everyone knows the “keep the kids entertained” game plan ahead of time.
4. ParkWhiz: Holiday shopping can make parking a NIGHTMARE. That’s why this app is definitely on our to-download list. With more than 800,000 parking spaces across the US, all you have to do is book ahead on your phone and your mobile pass will be ready and waiting for effortless parking (AKA no more driving around the block for an hour!).
5. Fuelzee: The holidays are expensive, so finding the cheapest gas prices en route to Grandma’s is definitely a road-tripping priority. With Fuelzee, real people help track fuel prices with the incentive to earn prizes (including free gas gift cards!).
6. HISTORY Here: Have a bored passenger in the backseat? This educational app is a location-based guide to thousands of historic locations. The app will notify you when you’re close to a cool place that will keep the kiddos occupied… at least for a little while.
7. Roadtrip Bingo: Never hear the dreaded phrase “Are we there yet?” again. You can’t have a road trip without playing bingo, so here’s a digital take on an old-school classic. Plus, it’s free!
DL It: Free on iOS
8. Roadside America: Go ahead, get out of the car. From giant twine balls to crazy museums, this road-tripping staple is perfect for leg stretching, bathroom finding and crazy Instagram picture taking.
DL It: $2.99 on iOS
9. Hotel Tonight: Sometimes the drive that was supposed to take us three hours ends up taking us 13. It happens. But don’t panic: This free app makes it incredibly easy (we’re talking three taps and a swipe, folks!) to book a hotel on-the-go.
10. Spotify: Whether you’re in the mood for some festive james or some anti-festive jams, Spotify has every song, album and playlist you could ever dream of. For $9.99 a month, your subscription allows you to listen to all the music you’d like. Make sure to download your playlists ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about data overages from streaming.
11. Maps.me: Traveling home for the holidays doesn’t mean you have to buy an extended data package. This popular offline GPS service allows you to download and view your maps and turn-by-turn directions without an outrageous post-holiday phone bill.
Are you getting ready to travel home for the holiday? Tweet us your road-tripping tips by mentioning @BritandCo.