Road trips hold a special place in many people’s hearts. The open road and the freedoms it represents have been romanticized by writers and travelers since automobiles became accessible to the masses.
While many drivers still take to the road looking for adventure, road trips have changed considerably since Jack Kerouac penned his seminal novel On the Road in the 1950s. The spirit of the open road is still there, but the way travelers approach road trips has changed considerably, most notably with regard to the technology that motorists now take along for the ride. Drivers about to embark on a road trip, whether it’s their first such venture or their 50th, can make trips even more enjoyable by taking along the right tech.
Navigation system: Many vehicles are now equipped with built-in navigation systems. But drivers whose vehicles are older or not equipped with such technology should consider purchasing one before embarking on trips. Though some travelers may feel navigation systems go against the adventurous spirit of road trips, it’s easy to get lost on the open road, especially in an era when many people have grown accustomed to round-the-clock access to information, including maps, on their smartphones. Even if you have no set itinerary in mind, a navigation system can ensure you spend more time enjoying the open road and less time trying to figure out just where you are at any given moment.
Chargers: Many people feel their devices are extensions of themselves, but such devices won’t be of much help if they are routinely running out of power. Bring along several chargers that can be plugged into your car so you and your passengers can keep your smartphones and other devices running throughout the trip. Though the idea of going off the grid might seem enticing, leaving the world behind is less romantic when you need roadside assistance or are in search of a restroom or a place to pull over and grab a meal. If you want to disconnect from the world, you can always switch your phone to airplane mode. But keeping the phone charged can help in case of emergency.
Apps: The right apps can make all the difference, especially for travelers whose road trip itinerary is not set in stone. The smartphone app GasBuddy can help drivers find the cheapest gas near them, while an app like AroundMe helps travelers find the nearest restaurants, pharmacies, banks, gas stations, and hotels, among other things. And don’t forget to download a music app like Pandora or Amazon Music (available to Amazon Prime subscribers) so you and your fellow road warriors can be entertained as you travel far and wide.
LED road flares: Traditional road flares tend to burn out rather quickly, with some lasting as little as 15 minutes. That can be a problem for travelers who experience car trouble and end up stranded far away from auto body shops. Some flameless LED road flares can last for hours on end off of a single charge, providing drivers with some peace of mind should they be stranded and forced to wait awhile before a tow truck or mechanic arrives.
The spirit that inspires travelers to take to the open road still exists, but nowadays drivers can make their road trips even more fun by taking along the appropriate tech.
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