If you're one of our U.S. readers, you're probably (well, hopefully) preparing for a three-day weekend. And although gas prices are sky high, chances are good that many of you are planning road trips over the Memorial Day holiday. If you're in that number, we'd like to suggest a few apps that'll make your mini-vacation more enjoyable.
Of course, there are the obvious choices -- the ones we've covered before like Pandora (for music), Aha (for news and more), Waze (for traffic), and Roadside America (for those wacky side-trips). There's also the Road Ahead app, which keeps tabs on nearby restaurants and gas stations. And of course, while you're away, we'd recommend our app for TheCarConnection, which will keep you informed about all the news on the auto front.
But apart from those tried-and-true faves, there are plenty of other apps designed for travelers like you. Below, you'll find six applications that are either new or that we haven't managed to cover just yet:
Fuel Economy: AccuFuel [iPhone]
Whether you're an avid hypermiler, or you just want to make sure you're getting the most bang for your gas buck, there's no way to tell unless you keep score. AccuFuel makes tracking fuel usage easy -- even on multiple vehicles. It's 99 cents in iTunes, but if you pay attention to your AccuFuel stats, you'll make that back in gas savings pretty fast.
Gas: GasBuddy [Android, iPhone, Windows]
With fuel prices hovering near record highs, drivers are as cost-conscious as ever when it comes to filling up. There are loads of apps to help find the cheapest gas in your area -- whether you're in a big city or BFE -- but none of 'em have managed to top GasBuddy. Crowdsourcing helps keep information current, and GasBuddy offers prizes for folks who send in updates.
Lodging: AirBNB [iPhone]
If you're the sort of person who's more interested in seeing how the locals live when you're on vacation, AirBNB might be the app for you. It's basically a lodging service, but instead of hooking you up with hotel offers, AirBNB plugs you into a network of private homes and condos that owners have made available for rent. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even see what you're own pad is worth and put it on the market.
Postcards: HazelMail [Blackberry, iPhone]
We all know that email is the #1 scourge of modern life. (Jorts, jeggings, and Jedward follow close behind.) So why pester your friends with email about your awesome vacation? Why not do something a little more unique and send them a postcard -- the real, printed, wish-you-were-here kind? HazelMail does just that: snap a pic, add some text, and upload it, then HazelMail will put it in the mailbox. The app is free, and postcards run just $1.50 each -- which is probably better than the rates you'll find at the local t-shirt shack.
Traffic: Inrix [Android, iPhone]
When the talk turns to traffic apps, it's impossible to ignore Inrix. No matter which app or satnav system you currently use, chances are fairly good that it relies on data from Inrix to stay up to date. Combine that reputation with the fact that Inrix's app is both predictive (meaning it can make educated guesses about where pile-ups may occur) and free, and you've got some easy driving just waiting to happen.
Wi-fi: Free Wi-fi Finder [iPhone, Android]
We strongly encourage you to unplug during your downtime, but we understand the siren song of the interwebs. If you just can't wait to watch that crazy cat video your friend posted, or if you're curious about the oatmeal currently trending on Twitter, try Free Wi-fi Finder. It's a crowdsourced map of free wifi spots in your area. And the app's free, too.
P.S. Before you go, don't forget to read our ten tips on road trip safety -- we want all of you back in one piece come Tuesday morning.