The Pack Up + Go team loves hitting the open road to explore the many cities and natural destinations around the USA. From shorter journeys, like exploring the Pacific Northwest or taking a Pack Up + Go surprise road trip, to a cross country trip that hits all 50 states - there are many ways to explore by car. Before you leave, install these applications to enhance the trip!
Before you head out on the road, we highly suggest that you have some app standards installed on your phone.
GPS: While we admire those who try to travel without the help of satellites, we think it is a good idea to have a backup app downloaded just in case. You can’t beat the universal standard that is Google Maps for directions, recommendations, and finding new ways when you hit traffic. Their subsidiary, Waze, is another great option for those who want to be more interactive with their journey by sharing real–time information with others using the app.
Lodging: If you are heading out on the road on your own, without the Pack Up + Go team, you’ll want to be prepared with some options for when weary eyes start to linger. Airbnb offers the opportunity to arrange lodging, primarily private homes, and tourism experiences. If staying in someone’s house isn’t quite your style, their recent acquisition, HotelTonight, is a great option for snagging last-minute hotel deals.
DayPass helps you find activities when you absolutely cannot be in the car for any longer. Their mission is to connect you, travelers and locals, with amazing fitness + wellness, leisure + recreation locations by unlocking access to luxury hotel amenities, gyms and spas day pass experiences, without the pressure to stay overnight. Type in the destination (or let the app pull up a current location based on your GPS), and you can see all of the hotels and gyms that offer day passes to their facilities. While they are currently only in limited cities, we hope they will continue to expand in the future!
One perk of a road trip is that you can pull over somewhere beautiful for Magic Hour - also referred to as Golden Hour - a term professional photographers use to describe the hour after sunrise or before sunset when the light is at its prettiest. This app lets you know exactly when Magic Hour begins and ends each day based on your location, helping you time your stop right. If you pay $0.99, you can add locations, allowing you to plan for future Magic Hours, and perfect pictures.
iTunes | (Magic Hour is only available for Apple Devices, but Google Play offers similar apps for Android users.)
Input your location and what types of outdoor activities you’re interested in, and you’ll receive a comprehensive list of all the parks in your area. Not only can Park Finder help you find out about National Parks and federal recreation areas, but the app also has an extensive database of state and local parks, meaning you’ll be able to find a bit of green space no matter where you are. This app has recently left the Google Play store, but we hope it returns soon!
Being cooped up in a car for hours on end can often be the worst part of a road trip, enter The Outbound, which allows road trippers to find outdoor activities along their route. Check in with this GPS-based, crowd-sourced app, which gives local recommendations for nearby outdoorsy activities. The app will point you to national parks, good hiking trails, secret swimming holes, and more—and the user reviews are fact checked by The Outbound Collective staff, so you can trust the advice (which is especially important if you’re hiking in an area you don’t know well).
Sometimes finding a clean bathroom can be the hardest part of a road trip. This app makes, created by Charmin (the toilet paper brand), it a little easier. SitorSquat gives you a list of nearby public toilets based on your GPS location and rates them by cleanliness (a green toilet icon means it’s clean; red means it’s less than). The app also includes information about cost (if any), whether there are baby-changing tables, and handicap accessibility. There are currently more than 100,000 bathrooms throughout the United States in the app’s database, as well as a growing number of toilets outside the country.
A music identification app that can tell you all about a song, whether it listens to music playing near you or you're humming a tune you just can't get out of your head. When you hear a song you like but don’t know, open up SoundHound, hit the orange circle, and the app will tell you its name. The app keeps a dated history of the tunes you identify. If you have Spotify or Apple Music, you can even sync your accounts with SoundHound, and all of your discoveries will automatically show up in a playlist called “SoundHound.” By the end of the trip, you’ll have a curated playlist of your song discoveries that you can play long after you’ve returned home!
This app features a huge database of detailed maps aimed at travelers. The Sygic Travel Maps mobile app displays the best tourist attractions, museums, restaurants, shops and more and allows you to add possible attractions to your “favorites” list and build detailed itineraries on the go. With this app, you can keep your schedule flexible and you can change your itinerary as your plans change! In case you plan to drive somewhere that the service isn’t great, you can even download offline resources so you’ll have maps and guides handy no matter what.