RoadAhead screen grab
If you’re like us, you have a passion for road trips and a serious preference for certain brands of food, gasoline and coffee. If you own an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, a new application may be just the thing to turn road trip frustration into road trip bliss.
Called RoadAhead, the app will advise you of exactly what to expect from upcoming exits. You can select the categories to search by (for example, ATM, Auto Repair, Coffee, Dining, Fast Food, Shopping, etc.) and set preferences including how many exits to search and whether or not to advise you of exits without services. If you tell it what grade of fuel you’re looking for (including diesel), it will show you the prices of competing vendors at each exit.
The app is simple to use: just select the categories you want displayed at each exit, then turn the GPS function on. RoadAhead knows to only look at exits ahead of your current position, in your direction of travel, so you avoid getting invalid information that would only waste your time. You can also turn off the GPS function and manually search for services off of major highways, which is a great way to find hotels or restaurants near the exit of your destination. Double-tap on a restaurant selection, and RoadAhead gives you the address, phone number and a link to a Yelp review if one exists.
The app also allows you to tag multiple categories, so you can bypass exits until you find one with the combination of categories you’re looking for. Many GPS systems offer similar functionality to RoadAhead, but the information in memory is only as current as the last update, and some GPS units aren't exactly "user friendly" when it comes to searching for upcoming services.
RoadAhead couldn't be simpler or more intuitive, and best of all the app is free, so what do you have to lose?