My Three Driving Trip Essential Apps

During my April driving trip from Vancouver, BC to the Grand Canyon to Wilmington, Vermont and back I found three apps invaluable … Apple Maps, TomTom Go Navigation and Love’s Travel Stops … all of which support Apple Car Play.

Each night I would set up the maps for the next day … the screenshot above shows the Apple Map setup for Sunday, April 23rd when I was driving from Urbandale, Iowa to North Platte, Nebraska. With the latest edition of Apple Maps you can set your starting point, your destination and stopping points on the way … for the 23rd the two stopping points were the Jesse James Historical Site (the location of the first moving train robbery) and Atlantic, Iowa (to look for trains). In Car Play you see the time/distance to the next destination plus directions as needed … also shows the estimated arrival time at your next destination.

In addition to Apple Maps I also used the TomTom Go Navigation app … for this app I only inputted the starting point and the destination. In Car Play TomTom Go shows you time/distance to your destination plus, in the side bar, when rest stops, gas stations or road work is coming up … the app also shows your estimated arrival time at your destination,

One potential stress point in driving trips is not knowing for sure where the next gas station is located … Love’s Travel Stops guarantees you know where the next stations are. Love’s is a truck stop which also caters to automobiles … each “station” includes separate pumps for cars and trucks, large clean washrooms (including showers for truckers), a convenience store, fairly cheap to go food options and in most cases a separate attached restaurant (could be Subway, Mcdonald’s, Godfathers Pizza, Arby’s, etc). Love’s was very competitive on pricing too. The app includes a map of all locations …

If you click on a location you get distance, pricing and other information for that location …

If you click on “Directions” you get an option to add to Apple Maps (or Google Maps) and the location will be inserted into your route. By using Love’s I never once stressed about where the next gas stop or clean washroom would be! The clean washroom information was particularly useful in April when many rest stops were closed and many others only provided parking spaces but no facilities. Plus you can use Apple Pay at the pumps and the staff were all very personable and helpful.

While driving I would have both Apple Maps and TomTom Go running in Car Play … if I had an intermediate stop upcoming I would be mainly using Apple Maps but switch to TomTom Go to check on my likely final arrival time … both apps, as expected, would reroute if you took a wrong turn or decided to go to another place on the way. In addition, each time after I filled up with gas I would check Love’s for the next stop and add that stop into my route.

By using these three apps my driving stress for directions, gas, washrooms and driving time was virtually eliminated … so different then when I did driving trips with my parents in the 1960’s and 1970’s where your only option was paper maps!

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