You've checked your tires and spare. You've replaced your wiper blades and topped off your fluid. Nothing stands between you and the road trip you've been planning -- except, you know, a plan. If you have a set destination, or just plan to wander the countryside, there's an app for just about every circumstance you'll encounter. Like sleeping under the stars? Or would you rather find a good hotel on the cheap? Charge up your cell and download these apps to help get you through your amazing journey. All are available through iTunes or Google Play unless otherwise noted.
In an unfamiliar city and approaching a traffic jam on the interstate? Turn to the crowd-sourced information of the free Waze navigation app that helps drivers with alternate routes and real-time traffic updates.
For folks not in a hurry, there is Field Trip, a free app that points out historical sites and interesting facts along your way. Recommendations will be customized based on whether you give a site a thumbs up or down
Gas Buddy, available on most phones, including Windows and Blackberry, shows nearby gas stations and their prices, helping you find the cheapest pumps quickly. The free app has a simple interface that lets users update the cost of gas in their area to keep prices current.
Camping apps are plentiful, but few of the good ones are free. Jimbl's Camping Trip Planner (99 cents on Android) lets you make a list of the necessities based on a stock library of items already on their base list. If you need to take your notes offline, you can export it or email it to yourself like a handy survival grocery list.
Users highly recommend Allstays Camp & RV-Tent Camping to RV Parks, which gives users the option of specifying amenities they are looking for (i.e. WiFi) and customizing a map of camp grounds and parking lots nationwide. This one isn't cheap, though, cashing out at $9.99 with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For those who miss the sounds of home, the TuneIn Radio app allows you to listen to your local radio stations (if they stream to the Web) anywhere. Take your morning-show crew across country and start every day off right.
Counting Cows' Road Trip Scavenger Hunt (available free on Android only) can turn looking out the window into a blood-thirsty competition for supremacy when you face off trying to spot the most road signs or car brands to be the victor. The app sort of demands that you have a neutral party keep score, so don't count on your best friend. For $2.99, you can buy six more categories to dominate.
Lame friends fell asleep on you? Have some of your favorite podcasters keep you company with the free Stitcher app. The app allows users to stream thousands of podcasts with topics ranging from world news to celebrity gossip.
Too tired to keep going? HotelsByMe, a free travel app, uses GPS to give a listing of hotels with available rooms, the price, the TripAdvisor rating and the ability to sort the list based on your preferences like price or rating.
For those who like to plan ahead, Hotel Finder (only on Android systems) gives you the option of searching hotels in specific cities and filtering the choices based on pricing, etc. The bonus is that you can book your roo6m right from your app and streamline the whole process.
(Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service www.shns.com)