Top apps for smoother road trips
The long Easter bank holiday is almost with us and many groups of friends and families will be hitting the road to make the most of the longer days – and hopefully higher temperatures.
However, road trips can come with their fair share of frustrations too, so we've rounded up some of the handiest smartphone apps to make sure that your Easter drives go smoothly and that the dreaded "are-we-nearly-theres" are kept at bay.
1: Find cheaper local fuel – WhatGas Petrol Prices
A fuel price app may not be exciting, but it will stop you being ripped off by motorway service stations that could be charging 10p more per litre of fuel than another identical garage just a mile down the road.
With this crowd-sourced app you can search on the map for nearby garages and then click to see daily prices. Those using the service can even add their own updates to return the favour to other motorists.
WhatGas Petrol Prices is free to download on iOS and Android
2: Share music choices - Tracktl
Music is a constant battleground between friends and families on long journeys. Tracktl, however, lets everyone have their say by putting the in-car music choices up for a vote – even before you set of on your trip. The songs that receive the most votes are the ones that start the road trip playlist. Perfect.
Tracktl is free to download on iOS and Android
3: Keep the whole family entertained – Family Car Games
If you're heading on a trip with several children in tow, you'll want to have entertainment on hand for 10 minutes into the journey, when the kids start kicking the back of the seats and throwing juice around the cabin.
Outsourcing parental creativity – and letting parents focus on driving and finding out where they're going – this app offers up 100 ideas for games that can be played while on the move, from memory games to out-the-window scavenger hunt.
Family Car Games is available on iOS for £1.49
4: Find the nearest public toilet - Flush
Another common sound from the back seat on a family trip is, "I need the toilet!" 10 minutes after you left the last service station for 70 miles and sped down the motorway. This needn't be an issue and you don't have to search for the next junction and double back if you have the right app to hand, however.
Flush maps out the nearest public conveniences and with more than 100,000 bathrooms logged on its database, you shouldn't have to travel far to find the next spot.
Flush is free to download on iOS and Android
5: Stay alert at the wheel – NightDrive
Late night driving is part and parcel of road trips – especially if you hope to drive all the way down to the south of France in one day. And if everyone else in the car has gone to sleep, leaving you to watch the motorway lights whoosh past one by one, it can't be easy to feel yourself nodding off.
NightDrive, however uses your phone camera to keep track of your eyes. Should the camera spot that your eyes have been closed for more than two seconds, an alarm will sound to make sure you're still awake and encourage you to stop to wake yourself up.
NightDrive is available on iOS for £2.29
6: Find a comfortable last-minute place to stay – Top10
Another handy app when for the end of the day, when you're looking for somewhere to stay, is Top10. This app lets you keep going to the next big town if you're itching to cover as much of your drive as possible before stopping for the night.
With recommendations of the top 10 hotels to stay in your destination, this app also offers up the best deals tailored to your requirements. Once you've made your choice, booking can be done through the app too, taking the stress out of booking.
Top10 is free to download on iOS
7: Cut travel costs by selling seats in your car – BlaBlaCar
Car sharing has gone from involving mysterious placard holding strangers loitering at the side of the road to being an easy way to slash long distance travel costs. If you're heading on a trip that passes several large towns, why not pick up a passenger two en route?
You can get the cost of some of your fuel covered, while your passengers can save money on a train fare. With many ways to find out exactly who you're offering a ride to, this is a safe and simple way to cut your travel costs and have company for some of your trip.
BlaBlaCar is free to download on iOS and Android
8: Get to know road trip buddies better – Let's Talk
Marathon road trips with people you don't know that well can lead to a number of awkward silences, but Let's Talk gives you a number of safe topics to explore to keep the conversation flowing.
With more than 1,100 questions to choose from – from silly to deep – getting to know your passengers – including those you may have just met, if you're car sharing – is made much easier.
Let's Talk is available on iOS for 79p
9: Send loved ones a photo postcard – Postino
Postcards may be slipping down the souvenir list for many travellers, but Postino makes it easy to send friends and family unique images, printed onto real postcards that can be delivered worldwide.
With the option to draw a signature with your finger and even include your GPS location, if your friends might like to explore the place you've visited for themselves,
Postino is free to download on iOS and Android