Eight must-have apps for a Spring Break road trip

If a major vacation isn't in the works this year, use these road trip tips and apps to make this Spring Break the best yet.

When a tropical getaway isn't feasible and a weeklong cruise isn't in the budget, many students opt for a four-wheeled adventure for Spring Break. It's often cheaper than flying, it allows for interesting – if unplanned – detours, and it gives you an excuse to sing car karaoke with your pals for hours on end. 

 So how do you plan a successful trip without much time or cash?

The NewsHouse has got you covered.

We've compiled a list of some of the most helpful road trip tips to get you started, and we've trolled the Apple App Store and the Android Market to find eight of the most helpful (and free!) apps, to help make your cross-county drive or your coastal day trip go off without a hitch!




This app is great for documenting your adventure, and keeping friends and family posted. You can push your updates to Twitter, Facebook and more on a per-check-in basis, so you can choose which updates are worth sharing. Earn badges for checking in at train stations, airports and more, and have your mileage recognized at the end of a long day on the road. (And the best part? It was created by an SU alum!) (For iPhone | For Android)



Whether you opt for Apple Maps or Google Maps, you're going to want some navigational app on your side for this adventure. Even if you know your way, a missed turn or traffic diversion can spell disaster if you don't have a paper map handy. (And seriously, who has a paper map handy any more?) As long as you've got cell service, your map app of choice can get you back on track in no time.  (Google Maps For iPhone | Google Maps For Android | Apple Maps For iPhone)


Gas Buddy

You're bound to go through more than a tank or two of gas if you've got a significant trip planned, so you'll want to be sure you're getting the best price. This location-based app helps you find gas stations near you, and lets you see the prices before you hit the pump. It relies on community contribution, so be sure to update the price, if it's changed, to help your fellow roadtrippers. (For iPhone | For Android)


No road trip would be complete without an "I'm driving with sunglasses on" photo taken by your passenger or stealthy pictures of the characters you encounter at truck stops. You can share photos on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and more, so those following your adventures from home (or from their own adventure) won't miss any of the sights you see along the way. (For iPhone | For Android)



If you're headed to a city this Spring Break, Embark has created a series of apps (Embark NYC, Embark DC, etc.) to help you navigate the subway system. Simply enter in your start point and your end address, and it will direct you where to catch the most convenient public transportation. It offers train times and walking directions to or from stops, too. (List of Embark Apps For iPhone | Embark NYC For Android)



When you find yourself at your destination, in the general sense, but still need somewhere specific to eat, drink or meet some locals, Yelp is a good place to start. You can sort by location or destination type, and the profiles for each spot include star ratings, written reviews and other helpful information. Want to try them all? You can bookmark these places to make a list for your entire trip. (For iPhone | For Android | For Windows, Blackberry and Palm)


Wi-Fi Finder

If you suddenly need to check your email, Skype your boyfriend or girlfriend, or update your blog, but don't want to pay for hotel Internet, Wi-Fi Finder is here to help. This location-based app will help you locate the locations nearby that have available wifi–restaurants, cafes, work spaces, retail locations and more–so you can choose according to your needs. (For iPhone | For Android)


Meetup is great is you're traveling alone or really want to get involved in the local scene, beyond the tourist attractions, while you're away. The app shows listing of local events organized by citizens, everything from open yoga classes, cocktail mixers and playing card tournaments, to pick-up ultimate Frisbee games and themed nights as local clubs and bars. (For iPhone | For Android)

Have another app you swear by on vacation? Share the details in the comments, or tweet your suggestion to @NewsHouse.



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