Have Apps, will driveBy Jeanette Ipapo-Tuason
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Technology is both our enemy and ally. It’s a good tool to shut a screaming child up, find friends that are halfway across the world, connect with family members that live abroad. But our addiction to technology makes us more disconnected to the people we are with. In restaurants you see every table with one or two persons either holding a smartphone or a tablet or getting so busy taking pictures that they tend to leave the group they should be bonding with.
Going on a road trip this Holy Week gives us an opportunity to connect with our family and friends. Imagine four to as much as 10 hours of bonding time with blaring music, the possibility of passengers throwing up and constant “Are we there yet?” questions in a cramped, shared space. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Yes, it can be stressful all right specially if it is spiced with a couple of mishaps like flat tire, getting lost—you get the picture. Your much-awaited holiday has now left you scarred for life and has definitely affected your children.
So to make sure that your driving holiday does not become the road trip from hell, here are some helpful Apps that would definitely use technology as our ally.
Google Maps comes standard on some phones like the iPhone and of course available on Android as well. It is not only a good tool to see if you are following the right direction but is helpful in giving you an accurate answer on “Are we there yet?” questions. Allow Google to know where you are and search for your destination; it will give you the expected travel time according to your speed. This app also helps in travelling to places you don’t know or will be riding with someone else. You will quickly know if your driver is actually taking you where you need to be or taking you for a ride.
Waze is Google Maps plus Facebook. Members of Waze can upload photos and describe current traffic situations. It can also help you find gas stations, banks, food, bathrooms and etc. It searches around different networks including Google Maps, Foursquare and Bing. Available in iPhone, iPad and Android platforms.
The MMDA app is actually very helpful in navigating in the metro. Avoid spending four hours to get to NLEx or SLEx by checking whether your route is a red or a green. Although it only shows major thoroughfares, it is still a good start rather than driving blind.
Priceline Negotiator or Agoda App
Not the type who makes all the arrangements before leaving? Or the hotel you were suppose to go to got invaded by an army of rats? No worries, download the Priceline app and get the best deals on hotels, car rentals and flights. Check out also the Agoda App for hotel deals. They both have easy interfaces that make booking easy and painless, especially if you have existing accounts on them.
Icon Pop Quiz
There are several variations of this game, but the important point is: it’s a thinking game. It’s a fun pop quiz activity with everyone inside the car. People need to guess what the icon represents. Try assigning one person as the game master and give each one a chance to answer. Not only did you get to bond with your travel mates, you also gave your brain a chance to exercise. You hit 2 birds with one stone. Try also Icon Pop Brand.
Wheels on the Bus
A fantastic game for your younger travel mates, the full version includes lots of educational and catchy activities that can keep your young passengers strapped onto their car seat for hours until nap time. No more mindless shooting games. Educate while traveling, keep tabs though, you don’t want them missing on the scenery. Available on iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire and Android platforms.
Four Pics One Word
Another pop quiz type game, where 4 photos are shown to you and you will have to guess what the word is. You can play this together or take turns. Some of the words are downright hard and it took us a couple of hours to guess. Available on both iPhone, iPad and Android platform.
Don’t forget to get a Data Plan. Whether post or pre-paid, most of the Apps work on a connection to the Internet. There are millions of Apps available in the market and some offering the same service under a different name. Remember though the whole point of the road trip is to spend time with each other, so make sure to disconnect to connect.
For comments and suggestions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; like us on Facebook/chicdriven or follow us at twitter @chicdriven. Check out our blog www.chicdriven.com/wordpress for behind the scenes and other topics.