With lower gas prices and an earlier-than-normal Memorial Day, travel this weekend is projected to be the busiest in a decade. According to AAA, there will be 37.2 million people on the nation’s highways and byways. Best Buy has five great tech travel gear tips to make your road trip memorable and smooth.
1. Travel tunes – You can’t have a road trip without the ultimate playlist. First, make sure your vehicle is MP3 player-ready by installing a car adapter so you can play tunes through your car speakers. If you’re in a specific mood (adventurous, carefree, mellow) the Songza app helps you find playlists based on that mood or songs appropriate for the occasion you’re heading to. You can also pick your favorite artists or songs, and create a station on Pandora or Spotify.
2. Put on your car game face – Nothing kills time on a road trip like a good car game. On your next trip, skip I-Spy, and geek-ify the ride with apps such as State Plate (iPhone, and Android,) which challenges you to hunt for license plates from all over the U.S. You can also test your brain with trivia apps like TriviaRoad, which covers all your favorite topics from pop culture to food. For the history buff, download US Trivia.
3. Make a pit stop – There’s no doubt you’ll find yourself pulling off the road for snacks, bathroom breaks or a hotel. Use these tips to help uncover what’s around you and avoid sticker shock at the gas pump.
4. Dude, where are we? – Sure, getting lost in the middle of nowhere may make for a funny story, but what’s not so funny is losing all that valuable time. To prevent arriving in Seattle instead of South Beach, make sure to update your GPS maps before your trip. After all, a GPS is only as good as its maps. Garmin map updates cost about $69.99, and TomTom charges between $99.99 and $129.99, depending on the map and device. Maps are updated approximately four times a year. As an alternative, you can check out Google Maps for directions via car, public transit or your own two feet. Some GPS systems even offer traffic alerts to ensure you’re always in the know.
- The AroundMe app (iPhone and Android), tells you all the points of interest near you. It detects your location and lets you select from categories such as bars, cafés, hospitals and hotels to filter the results.
- If you’re looking to fill up the old tank, look no further than Gas Buddy (iPhone and Android), an app that locates stations near you and shows current prices, so you never overpay for gas again!
5. Take charge of the recharge – Did your iPod die in the middle of blasting your favorite song? Did your laptop or tablet run out of battery power when you and your buddies were watching movies in the back seat? Any tech gadget you bring on your road trip is no good unless it’s fully charged. There are some easy ways to preserve battery life to make sure you don’t drain out at the wrong time.
- Keep your brightness settings low.
- Switch off non essentials on your MP3 players by lowering the backlight and turning off the equalizer, which both tend to accelerate battery burn out.
- If your gadget has a hold button, always put it on hold when not in use.
- Bring a compact charger that can handle more than one device at a time, like the PNY PowerPack Rechargeable External Battery.