According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Americans traveled more than 775 billion miles from June through August of 2012 – enough to travel to the sun and back more than 4,000 times. With summer 2013 officially underway, many families are once again hitting the road armed with more than their trusty road atlases as today’s technology reroutes the way families prepare for the open road.
From the front seat, parents can save money, time and frustration with a number of apps. For example, using GasBuddy takes the guesswork out of finding the cheapest gas prices across the country, while Hotel Tonight lets families find last-minute deals in nearby cities to recharge their batteries without wrecking their budgets. TV Food Maps can even help pinpoint some as-seen-on-TV eats, highlighting restaurants that have appeared on the Food Network, Travel Channel and Bravo’s Top Chef.
In the backseat, the kids can pass time between stops doing more than just playing “Punch Buggy” or “I Spy.” Playing License Plate Travel Game on a smartphone or tablet introduces a high-tech take on the traditional game of tallying up each state’s license plates. To learn more about where their trip is taking them, kids can use Stack the States and get an extra lesson in geography. There are also a number of drawing apps to consider for those taking scenic road-trip routes.
While there are plenty of gadgets, apps and other gear to fuel the road trip, families will need to take time to plan for safe driving and use of technology. Allowing calls to go to voice mail while driving can help assure families arrive safely. Some apps, like SafelyGo, are even configured to automatically reply to texts and calls when drivers are busy at the wheel.
From finding cheap gas, good food and a place to call it a night to keeping everyone entertained, educated and safe, technology is steering family travel in a new direction.