By PETER LoPINTO
Travelling is easier than ever now with the benefits of technology. GPS ensures that you arrive at your destination without any wrong turns, streaming services can keep the audio from getting boring, free wifi is all around the country, and specialty apps improve your experience with platforms designed for road trippers.
Google Maps can quickly become your best friend on any long expedition. Not only does its GPS and mapping keep you on the fastest path, it also has a variety of separate features that many people are unaware of. If you’re starting to get hungry or desperately needing a caffeine fix, you can add a waypoint along your route by searching for what you need nearby. Google Maps will add the destination to your trip and keep you on a logical trajectory. It’ll even tell you how many minutes the drive will add to your trip. Traffic updates alert you in real time about what may slow you down. In extreme traffic jams, the app will even redirect you into a faster path. You’ll feel like a genius getting off the interstate and leaving behind the congestion. Finally, if you prefer to look for destinations on your computer, Google now allows you to send a trip’s directions from your computer to your phone. Simply add your number to your Google account, and you’ll be ready to go.
CDs and the radio can get old quickly. Even if you have files on your phone or music player, on longer trips you can easily burn through hours of music. If you’re looking to diversify your audio experience, streaming services can give you options that are essentially limitless. Spotify has almost every artist and album available to stream. Their unpaid service shuffles through music based on the content you choose with occasional commercials, but the monthly subscription allows you to listen to full discographies in the order you want. Google Play also offers music streaming with playlists that are based on what you’re in the mood to listen to. If you’re look for something to really focus on, Audible allows for streaming of books that you have purchased. A nice feature of Audible is that you can download the books off of wifi; once you’re listening in the car, there’s no need to use data to listen to your favorite book.
Speaking of data usage, if you’re looking to browse the internet without going over on your data plan, you can find free wifi around the country. Starbucks has the fastest download speeds available in the country, and McDonald’s isn’t very far off. Depending on where you are, free wifi may be right around the corner.
Apps that have been designed for travellers can help you out in tackling specific problems. GasBuddy finds the cheapest gas prices nearby, which can add up if you have a long distance to tackle. TripAdvisor is designed to be a one-stop service for travel: it includes rates for transportation as well as nearby hotels, and users rate food and activity destinations. And if you’re looking to avoid paying for a hotel, Airbnb is a service that allows people to rent out homes or parts of their home to people needing a place to stay. The accounts are verified through major social accounts such as Google or Facebook, and places are rated based on the accommodations and experience with the host.
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