Phoenix: An app for that!

Center map

I promised a post on apps!

So, here it is (sorry it took me so long!). There are a few apps I regularly use on the road that, even if you’re not seeing the western United States in a minivan, you might find them useful in your everyday life.

Gas Buddy!

This is a no-brainer: everyone wants to save money on gas! “Gas Buddy” uses your location to find every gas station near you—and some a little farther away, listed by distance—displaying the per-gallon-price and when that price was last checked.

I figure that, by now, I’ve saved almost thirty dollars by actively seeking the lowest price—sometimes as much as fifty cents per gallon!

Truck stop apps.

I have the apps for the three major truck stop chains: Love’s, Pilot/Flying J and TA/Petro. Like Gas Buddy (which will also list the prices on these truck stops!), you will see gas prices and locations nearby.

The difference in having these individual truck stop apps is that each has a scheme to save more money on gallon prices when you use their app and to rack up added value points that may be used for discounts on other products and services. Each will give you a card—or send one to you in the mail—that will scan at the pump to lower your price by at least a few cents per gallon.

It all adds up, especially if you’re on a long trip and buying gas regularly.

Rest stops.

Driving can drain you and sometimes, you might need to pull over—if only to stretch your legs or catch a little nap.

“Rest Stops” lists every place you can pull off the road—by state and highway—along with the services available and even has user reviews! “Trucker Path” is another app, specializing in truck stops, also displayed on a map.

“Free Campsites” is an app that shows, well, anyplace along your route where you can stay overnight for free. Again, the results are displayed on a map, based on your current location (also with services and reviews).

“RV Parky,” my personal favorite, is the gorilla, with rest stops, gas stations, truck stops, campgrounds (both fee and free) and Walmarts—all with user reviews—displayed on a map, based on your location. I don’t think I could live without using this app in my travels.

And of course, the weather!

Yes, the weather is important to know—especially when bad weather is on the way to where you are or to the place you are heading to in the near future! I prefer the Accuweather app, for it breaks down the conditions and the forecast nicely.

You can store locations—in addition to your current GPS position—to look down the road a bit. Accuweather also shows sunrise and sunset and hourly weather over the next 24 hours!

And although the Accuweather app does have a RADAR page, I have found the best RADAR display to be on “RadarNow!” and I use it when storms are going to affect my roadways.

Even before I started this adventure, I used both of these weather apps everyday so, I highly recommend them.

WiFi and Cellular networks.

I won’t even get out of the car anymore at a place that should have a decent WiFi signal and connection to the internet without using “WiFi Analyzer” (I’ve been fooled too many times by McDonald’s and Burger King claiming they have “free WiFi”—when they don’t).

In one Burger King, they had a WiFi signal but, it wasn’t connected to the internet! And at several McDonald’s, I’ve been able to connect but, their host wouldn’t let me do anything (“zero data return”). Damn you, wayport!

Save your hair!

Ever wonder why your phone is having trouble getting a signal? Maybe there’s no signal to get! That’s why I have “Network Cell Info Lite,” which shows me the signal strength of any cellular network in range—and the signal of the next closest tower, along with the operator and type of signal from those towers!

You gotta have this app so you don’t pull out your hair when there’s no connection!

Texting while driving?

Don’t want to lose life or limb while driving? Get “SMS Reader.” This app will read texts you receive outloud so, you can get your messages without risking your life—or stopping your car to read them! I have mine set to English (Britain) so, everyone sounds like the Queen of England when they text me. Great fun!

Of course, to send a text, saying “Okay Google, send a text to…” will open your messaging app and create a text to anyone in your contacts. I rarely use it but, it’s there if I need it (“I’m getting off the highway now and will be there in about five minutes”).

And finally…

I don’t want to fill my phone’s storage or memory with garbage so, I use “Avast Cleanup” to remove junk files and to kill apps that are using memory—even when they’re not being used (why are they still active!?).

I highly recommend this app for anyone concerned about how much space they have left on their smartphone!

Free is good!

Yes, every single app I have mentioned above is free. And free is definitely good! All of the apps here are for Android (I have no idea if they have a iOS version of them for iphones). Try them out and see if they help you!

Happy trails my friends!

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