Travelling is one of those everyday things that can be either really routine or take you to something extraordinary. Maybe you take a different route to work and discover a great little coffee shop or you simply need to escape gridlock. These days, with navigation options built into both cars and phones, you never have to travel alone. And sometimes, you can even travel to places where your phone can’t connect to the internet. Whether it’s finding a new restaurant or breaking away from the concrete jungle to explore nature, here are some apps to get you moving in the right direction.
When it comes to answering questions, Google has become the go-to search engine. Recipes, old classmates and movie times are all part of its range of answers, but so are turn-by-turn directions. Not only can you search an address or general location, but Google will also direct you to it. This app offers live traffic information, options on transportation (car, public transit, biking or just walking) and an actual street view, so you can see what the surrounding area really looks like in real time and not just as a grid.
Available across the various mobile platforms (Android, Apple and Windows), MyRoute operates as an easy to use navigation assistant dedicated to making your travels less stressful. One of the greatest features about MyRoute is its multiple destination option. Unlike Google Maps or other apps, which requires you to input each individual location, MyRoute lets you plan your entire itinerary. Need to drop off a package at a post office before heading for an afternoon lunch downtown? MyRoute allows you to plan your trip from start to finish. And that also includes multi-day trips for vacationers or those working outside of their hometown.
If all of Google’s GPS offerings are more than you need to get from point A to B, but also not offering quite the information you want, there’s also GPS Essentials. While it seems simpler than Google, this app is like a modern compass for the true modern explorer. You can customize up to 45 different widgets and put in specific information about your latitude, altitude, moonrise and sunrise times and any other customizations needed to help you travel.
If you’re really into being guided by the most basic of navigation tools, this app is it. Using the planetary and star locations, it allows you to move under direction of the skies. Using your phone as a central locator, StarStruck calculates and recalculates your position as both you and the stars travel. It’s also a great alternative to more battery-hungry apps that tend to kill your phone before you reach your destination.
For those who aren’t looking to go anywhere in particular but just feel a need to move, there’s Geocaching. Operating as a sort of up-to-date and large-scale treasure hunt, this app shows the coordinate locations for nearly two million hidden containers around the world. You can choose how you play either by location or difficulty of finding the containers.
Another excellent choice for those outside-the-box adventures is Maverick GPS. This app is especially useful for those off-road excursions. First, you browse through a collection of maps online and then the app stores them for use once you hit non-service dead zones. You’re able to browse and guide yourself with the maps offline, without needing to worry about data or WiFi. This app also has the choice to record your route so you can share it with those who couldn’t join you.
Much like Maverick GPS, NavFree allows you to access your maps offline for those off-the-grid outings. The app downloads your route options before your trip and accesses them during your travels without the burden of needing a data connection. Because you don’t need to worry about having a connection, it allows you to travel to an even wider variety of places.
The AIS (Automatic Identification System) allows those sailing travelers a bit of comfort on the open water. This app works by letting you know where you are in relation to the other broadcasting ships. Currently, this app covers up to 12 miles off the U.S. and U.K. coasts.
Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute. Waze also helps you navigate to the cheapest petrol station on your route to help you save some gas money.
10. Travel Line
Of course, if you don’t want to drive, or you’d like to help ease congestion check our Travel Line. Travel Line is a partnership of transport companies, local authorities and passenger groups which have come together to bring you routes and times for all travel in Great Britain by bus, rail, coach and ferry.
Featured image by Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons