The art of planning ahead has become a lot easier. Whether you are going a summer long UK road trip or simply driving through counties with your crew to visit relatives for a weekend, there are so many places where you can find hacks, tips and advice to make your journey quicker, stress free and more enjoyable. Mobile phones have a lot to do with it but saying that, we are big fans of going back to no screen old fashioned fun too on a road trip, with traditional family car games.
when it comes to making your journey as smooth as possible, avoiding traffic, finding where to charge an EV car or neat hacks to find a parking space for less in a city you don't know well, lot of apps that can plan your car journey. We've put togther a list of thirty three of the best ones. We have downloaded them and tested them too, just so you know.
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You might want to go on a total adventure and not plan every detail of your road trip. Even if you do, checking which direction you need to take might be helpful to avoid traffic, road maintenance, diversions and accidents. We've looked at various app features for you:
It offers easy to use route planner options, discounts on the go for AA members and a list of AA certified garages - in case your car needs a little help to get to your destination. At the time of publishing this article, the AA also offers a £20 M&S or Amazon voucher if you refer a friend (one voucher for you, one for your friend).
You can search traffic incidents and motorway congestion live in England through this app (note that it's not available for Scotland or Wales at time of publishing). It also connects with your Apple watch to feed the top ten incidents near you whilst you're driving.
Waze is like your little road wizard and comes with a great user rating of 4.3/5. It alerts you of roadworks, police, accidents and reroutes you to avoid traffic and save time.
This app shares real time traffic and service stops available on your journey. It comes with a top rating of 4.7/5. Pick the route option that suits you best based on time, distance and cost (including tolls). It also displays permanent speed limits and alerts you if you exceed them.
It's not until you need to make a claim that you may realise you don't have your car insurance policy details at hand. You can avoid unnecessary stress easily with insurance assistant style apps like Hey Brolly. Brolly keeps all your insurance policies safely in one place. If you have a gmail account you can get them automatically added to your portfolio rather than adding the details manually. Going further than being just a virtual wallet for your insurance documents, Brolly also offers an insurance concierge style service, recommending insurance solutions tailored for your journey. The app's extra purpose is to identify gaps you might have (and want to fill) in your insurance portfolio, based on your lifestyle and personal data.
It probably won’t happen. But it’s worth checking how you can submit a new claim on your car insurance, away from home, before you leave on a longer road trip. More and more car insurance companies offer a way to claim online through their own apps. If not, make sure you at least have the number to call to report an incident, and your policy reference details. If you are curious to see how your car insurance provider compares to others in terms of claim satisfaction ratings, you can check them out through ClaimScore. What's ClaimScore? It's a community hub when you can read and leave your own feedback on how your insurance claims were dealt with, whether it is about your car, your home, travel, pet, gadgets and more. ClaimScore collects, crunches and displays all the insurance company reviews you and other customers add, so you can have an idea of how proactive, helpful and innovative they are when dealing with your claim. Before it happens to you.
You might have breakdown cover from the RAC, the AA, GreenFlag or another breakdown road assistance supplier. Download their app as it might help you request assistance quicker, enable them to locate you and also, if you don't need to use it, it can still come in handy because some of them give you discounts on products and services at service stations on your journey.
Even if you don’t own a car, apps can be super helpful to help you plan your next car journey. You can find people travelling where you want to go and share a lift (at the fraction of the cost of keeping a car on the road). Apps like Bla Bla Car let you do just that - carpooling made easy. You can filter destinations, time of departure, costs you’re willing to pay and view photos of drivers and check the car they drive.
If your next UK road trip takes you to a new city or area of the country, make the most of your time there. Here are some of our favourite apps to help you plan your stay:
Trusted by 20 millions travellers worldwide, this app works offline, giving you detailed area maps, and search by category of points of interest. You can also share your map with your friends and plan your visit together before meeting there. Swapping from your tablet to your mobile when you leave home for your trip? No worries, the apps syncs all your data between your devices.
A great app for creating new adventures. Follow other travellers, discover new places by style of trip you'd like to have - whether you're a foodie, love gigs or passionate about art and culture. Create your own travelling stories, complete with pictures for others to share what you discovered on your own visits too.
Promising to make city navigation effortless, HERE WeGo tells you everything you need to know before you leave home about getting out and about at your destination: Public transport in 1300+ cities - bus, trams, trains, underground, bike or even ferry.
Discover the best things to do in your city. Explore great places to eat and drink and things to do during your weekend or break away. You can create shortlists of places you'd like to visit and book a table at any of the restaurants listed through the App.
Many great apps can help make your car journey less stressful. Just make sure that you are all set up to use them in a safe, hands-free environment before you leave home. Whether you connect your car to the app or use a dashboard mounted hands free in-car kit. Either way, your mobile phone should really best be out of reach and sight. The glove box or the boot of your car are good places to store it safely.
Use Waze or Around me guide for finding the cheapest fuel around.
For electric cars, you can download Zap-Map to locate the closest electric plugging points, check their availability and also add your own. Zap-Map also features a handy forum area where you can ask other owners of EV vehicles questions and feedback.
More and more petrol stations offer the option to pay at the pump with your credit or debit card. BPMe can save you time and hassle, especially if there are a lot of people travelling at the same time as you are. Drive up to the station, enter the pump number in your app, confirm how you want to pay and how much. Voila. BP are only accepting Visa and MasterCard at the time of publishing but are working on adding more payment methods.
You have the choice of many apps when it comes to Sat Nav support- including Google Maps, Scout Navigation, Sygic and Tom Tom. Be warned of accidents, road work and congestion. Reroute and keep track of your arrival time.
Once you've driven to where you want to go, it's all about finding the best spot to park your car. Then it's time to navigate your way to your final destination, whether on foot, cab or public transport (if you can't drive all the way there). Here are some options to help you find the best place to park.
Available in 12 cities in the UK, AppyParking lets you look up the nearest parking, and also discover potential free parking areas. It lists disabled spaces, motorcycle bays and EV stations. Sign up using your email or Facebook details. You can choose what type of pins you want to see on your area map (petrol stations, car parks, free parking spaces, parking bays....).
Saving you the need to have cash and even the exact change in your pocket, apps like Ringo and PaybyPhone are brilliant for paying for your car park space using your credit or debit card. They make it very convenient, saving your car's registration, latest location used and extending your car park time remotely.
Instead of paying to park at a large car park, you might save time and cash renting someone's driveway. Useful apps include ParkLet, YourParkingSpace, and JustPark. Money Saving Experts have got a great summary of how they compare.
Google street view, citymapper, Moovit and Uber. For London, London Tube map, Santander Cycles self-service bike sharing scheme app and Tfl apps.
OVER TO YOU:
What are your favourite apps to save time with your car journeys? Which ones do you love that we might have forgotten? Leave us a comment and share your smartest tips.