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Eight Alternative Navigation Apps for Summer Travel Season

navigation app

Summer is officially here, and that means thousands of families will be traveling to their favorite vacation spots over the coming months. A 2017 survey conducted by New York University states that about 80% of US families take a summer vacation, and if you’re among that number, you probably know that there’s a diverse selection of travel apps available to get you on your way. You might already have a favorite that you never leave home without—like Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze—but there are some lesser-known apps out there that bring useful features these big names might omit. So, whether you’re touring the country or trotting the globe this summer, consider embarking on your next adventure with one of these eight great apps!

Road Trip Add-ons

CoPilot GPS: When you know you’ll need to get around without an Internet connection, CoPilot GPS lets you download maps for offline navigation at home or abroad.

inRoute Planner: Accommodating travelers who want to arrive ASAP as well as those who want to enjoy a more scenic route, inRoute enables you to plan your best road trip, whether you prioritize deadlines or simply want a relaxing journey. With live weather updates and road contour and elevation information, inRoute is especially suited to travelers in non-conventional vehicles such as RVs and motorcycles. While the app’s free version lets you map up to five stops using this information, the premium upgrade enables even finer control over your trip, allowing you to map more stops, plan how long you’ll spend at each, and optimize fuel efficiency.

Roadtrippers: Like inRoute Planner, this app helps you plan the best routes for your road trip, but with added suggestions for roadside attractions, great local restaurants, and more. And if you share your route with friends, they can even suggest the stops or vistas you should check out along the way.

Specific Finds on the Road

SitOrSquat: On the road, it can be hard to know where you should stop for a pleasant, hygienic restroom break. SitOrSquat takes the guesswork out of your drive by providing user reviews of public restrooms along your route.

GasBuddy: While your typical navigation app can get you to the closest gas station, it might not get you to the cheapest one. GasBuddy shows you a price comparison of all gas stations in the area so you can get the best price.  Once you find the one you want, the app will provide you with navigation to that specific station. You can even earn perks in the form of extra savings or promotions by using GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas around.

Alternate Modes of Transportation

Komoot: Many navigation apps optimized for vehicle navigation don’t include trails for hiking or biking. Komoot has you covered, providing topographical maps, trail locations, and route suggestions based on fitness level. The app also works offline so you can access it even in dead cell zones.

TrailForks: TrailForks is another great app for hikers and bikers because it includes crowdsourced trail information, including conditions, points of interest, and live tracking. One of the most useful functions for your peace of mind is the emergency information function, which allows the app to generate your exact GPS coordinates and give you the name of the nearest trail in case you need help.

Navionics: Nautical travel is a blind spot for most navigation apps, but it’s the sole focus for Navionics. The most popular app among boaters, its planning and navigation functions factor in weather, tide, current, and depth data, which is especially useful for fishing enthusiasts.

Long gone are the days of using paper maps to navigate on road trips in the car, on bikes or on foot. More than that, however, these navigation apps can also help you plan your trips ahead of time by providing information about roads, attractions, and different types of terrain. Not only can these apps help you find your way, but they can help you make sure you have the best journey possible. Happy travels!

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