Published July 06, 2012
Summertime means it's time to load up the family truckster with eager children, calamine lotion and bologna sandwiches.
But as you prepare to tackle the great American adventure known as the family vacation, don't forget to download these handy smartphone apps to make your travels as serene as possible.
iGasUp (iPhone and iPod Touch, $0.99) - This app helps folks on the open road find the cheapest gas around no matter where their travels take them. iGasUp provides you with access to "up-to-date, time-stamped prices" at more than 110,000 stations across the U.S., according to its creators.
Drivers also can plan ahead by entering the zip code of their final destination to find the cheapest fueling stations along their route.
If there is a catch to this penny-pinching app, it's the annual $2.99 fee after the first year. But as high gas prices continue stretching drivers' wallets, iGasUp could save money in the long run.
Trapster (Free on both iPhone and Android) -- Now that you've mapped out your fuel plan, it's time to put your foot on the pedal.
Trapster can help cut down your drive time by pinpointing all those pesky police speed traps, stop light speed cameras, accidents, and other highway hazards you're sure to encounter on your travels.
This handy app can even deliver a voice alert as you approach a trap or if you exceed the speed limit. You can also assist other drivers by becoming part of the Trapster network, alerting fellow road warriors about upcoming hazards in their paths.
iWrecked (Free on both iPhone and Android) -- Sadly, trouble on the road can't always be avoided. So when an accident rears its ugly head on your family road trip, be prepared with iWrecked, a simple app that reminds you of everything you need to do after a car accident.
iWrecked takes you step-by-step through an information gathering process, helping you put together a complete accident log, including contact and insurance information from other drivers and accident photos straight from your phone.
Folks sidelined because of a fender-bender can also use iWrecked to dial 911, find the nearest police station and locate nearby taxi and/or towing services.
RepairPal (Free on both iPhone and Android) -- Unexpected repairs to the family chariot can put an unexpected dent in your vacation budget. That's where the award-winning app RepairPal comes in handy.
When your jalopy doesn't quite make it to Wally World, RepairPal allows you to punch in the year, make and model of your car to get repair estimates from local garages in seconds.
RepairPal also helps you keep records of service on your car and reminders for your vehicle's next scheduled checkup.
Drive Safe.ly (Free on both iPhone and Android) -- For the traveler who can't quite make a clean break from the office during his or her travels, Drive Safe.ly allows you to manage your e-mail and text messages without endangering your loved ones.
Drive Safe.ly not only reads texts and emails aloud, but also allows drivers to respond via spoken messages. The app has a simple "on/off" setup and is also compatible with your Bluetooth.