6 Must-Have Apps for Summer Travel

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Jessica is a respected contributor to the Sampling America writing team, eloquently sharing tales of adventures across the country and beyond.

Back in the day, you could take a road trip around the country with just a paper map and a cooler full of snacks. Nowadays, though, things are a bit more complicated, and it helps to have a few apps on your phone to help you get where you’re going without getting lost — or just to make things simpler.

Here are a few essential apps to download before you hit the road this summer.

Google Maps

Google Maps
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Okay, let’s get real: Does anyone travel anywhere without Google Maps anymore? Google Maps (usually) works beautifully to help get you where you’re going without getting lost. Thanks to its geolocation feature, it knows where you are and how to help you find the quickest way to where you want to be. You can plug it into most newer vehicles to see your route on your screen, or you can just use it as a reference as you walk.

Best of all, you don’t have to keep folding and unfolding that unwieldy paper map in the car!

A Camera App

Camera App
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Some people still use an actual camera to take photos while traveling, but the majority of people find it easier to just point and shoot with the phone they already have in their pocket. If you want to take good, quality photos, make sure you have the latest camera updates installed and that your camera app is the best one your phone can use (hint: it may not always be the one that came pre-installed).

Google Translate

Translation app
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Okay, we’re not trying to sound like spokespersons for Google, but the company does have another useful app for travelers: Google Translate. Even when traveling in the United States, sometimes one comes across people who speak a different language. Google Translate has options to type what you hear or read, snap a photo of a sign, or even use your phone’s microphone to listen to a person’s speech and translate it into your language or vice versa. It might not always be a perfect translation, but it does make it much easier to communicate with people of other cultures and ethnicities.

Uber or Taxi Apps

Ride app
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If you are not driving your own car on your road trip, you will most likely need a ride at some point. Having the Uber app makes using this ride service much safer, because you can schedule a pickup and verify the identity of your driver as well as know exactly when they will arrive. Taxi apps work much the same way, so check out the taxi services in the area you will be vacationing in to see if they have an app you can use before leaving.

Audible or Podcast Apps

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Amazon’s Audible app is perfect for long road trips. It lets you listen to audiobooks from anywhere at any time, which is a great way to pass the time on a long drive across the country.

If books aren’t your thing, there are also tons of podcast apps you could download to listen to stories about serial killers or to learn something new about your (other) favorite topics.

Find Friends

Friends with phones
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If you are traveling with someone who is known for wandering off, you might consider downloading Find Friends. This app is a bit controversial, but when used correctly, it lets you share your location with the other people on your trip so that you can all find each other easily via GPS tracking. This way, no one gets left behind in some random ghost town in New Mexico!


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