6 Gadgets and Apps to Make Holiday Road Trips Easy

Cut out the stress and turn up the fun with these tools

Photo of a man driving a car
(Image: File)

If you’re planning to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday, mile-long traffic and congested roadways may just be a part of the journey. According to an annual Trip Advisor survey, 60% of those traveling to enjoy the holiday will drive to their destination, while only 35% will fly. So whether it’s packing a dual car charger for your must-have mobile accessories or downloading an app to learn real-time traffic information, here are five gadget and travel apps that can help ease any travel woes.

[RELATED: The Worst Day to Travel This Thanksgiving]

Anker USB 24W USB Car Charger ($11.99) Most of us travel with two or more mobile devices—mobile phone, tablet, camera, etc. And if you’re traveling with two or more people, having your personal devices charged is a must to keep your sanity. So how do you keep your devices powered beyond the first few hours? Use the Anker USB 24. It comes with two high-speed USB charging ports in a device the size of a standard single-port charger. Using your car cigarette lighter, you can expand your power source to accommodate multiple devices. And it can simulataneously take on tablet and large smartphones.

Gas Buddy (Free app, available at the App Store and Google Play)- Helps you locate gas stations near your current location and find the cheapest gas while on the go. Instead of making last-minute pit stop decisions, know before you go with updated prices provided through user reports. The app also provides users with an incentive to update gas prices: For every gas price reported, you’ll earn points towards our prize giveaway.

GPS: TomTom Go Live 1535M ($159.98) Of course, you can use your smartphone as a GPS, but having a standalone portable navigation device can help you preserve battery life. The TomTom Go Live features a host of destination searching apps from Yelp, Expedia, Trip Advisor, and Google. It also includes a Twitter integration feature which allows users to update friends and family with estimated time of arrival, or ETAs, in a manner safer than texting.

Waze (Free app, available at the App Store and Google Play): A community-based traffic and navigation app that connects you to drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road information such as accidents, police traps, construction areas, and more. You can also join groups and connect with friends via Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare. With its turn-by-turn driving directions on a map, the app automatically checks for the latest traffic information and will re-route you if current traffic conditions are sub-par.

iExit is the perfect answer to the dreaded question, how far is the next exit? Whether gas is getting low or your traveling buddies are in need of a bathroom break, iExit displays up to 100 exits ahead and rest areas, with colored icons to indicate available food, hotels, gas, and big-name retail stores. You can even filter the list by business name (e.g., McDonald’s) or amenity (e.g., pet friendly). And iExit comes with a “Deals Search” option that allows you to see upcoming businesses running promotions specifically targeted toward highway travelers.

Gray Kargo Cooler ($119) The Thermo electric cooler can keep your road trip snacks cool or warm. It also includes a split lid so you can stack things on top and still have access to your food and beverages. Considering the cooler is thermo-electric, it’ll cool your drinks even if you run out of ice.

Enjoy!