- By Parker Sheil
Everybody knows about Google maps, but what about the hundreds of other navigation applications? With so many choices, you might want to branch out, but don’t know where to start. So, we’ve rounded up our five favorite apps for commuting, road tripping, and city exploring. Read on to discover your new favorite!
Apps for driving: Commuter Edition
For driving, we like apps that are traffic savvy, hands free, and fun. These two apps cover all the bases, without removing your hands from the 10 and 2 position.
Waze is a free app that does a great job of integrating traffic into navigation, and puts a huge focus on driver safety, so it’s no surprise to see it at the top of both Apple and Google Play charts. The app crowdsources traffic information by following users en route (to compare predicted and actual travel times), and allowing users to manually report congestion, construction, and speed cameras.
With Waze, to keep both hands on the wheel, users can send their trips to friends, who can then monitor ETAs without distracting drivers with calls or texts. But our favorite features on Waze are the voiced commands- users can upgrade to celebrity narrators like Stephen Colbert, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Star Wars’ C3PO, and even Tyler Perry’s movie character Madea. A smart, safe, and fun app, Waze is available iTunes and GooglePlay.
Remember way back in 2005, when Mapquest felt like the only way to find directions? Well, the masterminds have created a free app, which is like a traffic-savvy “swiss army knife” in your phone. To organize local attractions, Mapquest displays bars, restaurants, and ATMs in “layers” on their map. The app has also created its own hotel booking system, so users can book accommodations without having to leave the app. After picking a destination, users can then combine up to 26 locations into a single trip, perfect for running errands or summer travels. Download now on iTunes and GooglePlay.
Pro tip for marketers: First, get your business listed on Waze by using their free WazeMapEditor. Then, if you really want to increase your brand visibility, both Waze and Mapquest offer advertising options to promote your business above the local competition. Vroom vroom!
Apps for driving: Interstate Travels
Highway driving requires fuel, and that means coffee, food, gas, and sometimes a place to sleep. But what if you want good coffee, great food, or a comfy mattress? This app’s got you covered.
iExit is a free app that lists local businesses by highway exit, so you can find the cheapest gas, best coffee, and comfiest lodging while en route. Perfect for Monday morning traffic jams or weekend road trips, the app has integrated Yelp reviews, GasBuddy price comparisons, and TravelCoupons to help filter through unfamiliar businesses. Download the app now on iTunes and GooglePlay.
Pro tip for marketers: iExit advertises one business per exit. Set up a sponsorship with them now to direct traffic right to your door.
Apps for commuting: City Style
Not a fan of driving? Here at our headquarters in downtown Montreal, neither are we. Lucky for us, these two apps offer alternative planning for those of us who prefer public transit, a bike, or a trusty pair of sneakers over a stick shift.
Transit is a free app (also headquartered in Montreal!) that seamlessly combines bikes, car(share)s, and public transportation into one platform. The app saves you from running on wild goose chases across apps, maps, and search engines, by simply listing available transit options in order of distance distance and wait times. This simple interface allows users to immediately see the fastest and closest transit options in just one glance. Available in 125 cities, Transit tracks the subways, trains, local carshares, Uber, and Urban Bikes (where available). Download now on iTunes and GooglePlay.
If you prefer a commute that doubles as cardio, Strava is the perfect companion. You may have already heard of the free app, which allows users to monitor biking/cycling routes/times, and then share with friends. Well, you can use the app to turn each commute into a race, challenging yourself to get to work quicker by upping your heart rate and trying new routes. For a premium, Strava also provides advanced analytics and personal coaching. Download now on iTunes and GooglePlay.
Pro tip for marketers: Strava is a social running/cycling network, where users can bookmark trips with images of beautiful vistas, trendy destinations, and tasty post-cardio snacks. These images can drive traffic, so remember Strava on your next social media campaign!