Well, it looks like international travel is off the cards for the foreseeable future. But fear not – the UK has a whole range of enviable destinations that can make for the perfect holiday, whether you’re looking for a tanning session at the beach or a gruelling hike up Snowdon. And the best bit is that you can get everything you need for the perfect staycation simply by unlocking your phone. We’ve put together our favourite apps to make your trip as smooth as possible. Ditch the passport and get yourself behind the wheel instead: adventure awaits.
As the name suggests, this app is your one-stop shop for all things road trip related. The folks behind Roadtrippers know that a road trip is so much more than getting from A to B – with the app you can plan your entire journey, estimate fuel costs, invite friends to edit your path and discover the best places to stop along the way. Popular attractions will feature reviews and photographs from other Roadtrippers so you can map out the journey that is perfect for you. Think of it as a Lonely Planet guide crossed with Google Maps.
Every good road trip relies on supplies. No one wants to be the person in charge of snacks who, 2 hours into the journey, realises they forgot the sandwiches. Packr is a packing list app that comes with over 25 different list presets based on your accommodation, mode of transport, activities planned and fellow passengers. It also takes into account the weather along the way and will adjust your list accordingly so you have everything you need, come rain or shine.
Picking your vehicle
Now, we may be a teeny, tiny bit biased but we know that there is simply no better way of renting a car than switching on your phone and accessing a vehicle right ‘round the corner. From family SUVs to city cars to transit vans, the Karshare app allows you to book hundreds of vehicles instantly and unlock them with your phone. No queuing, no counters, no awkward collection points at far-out airports – you simply select the car you want, head to where it’s parked, verify your identity and drive off into the sunset. The best bit is that you are supporting fellow members of your community by renting their cars!
Ok, this isn’t necessarily an app but the team at Camptoo have harnessed all the power of the sharing economy and made accessing RVs and camper vans super simple and affordable, so we think they deserve a shout out anyway! If your staycation requires a home on wheels, you can discover nearby privately-owned vehicles that come with 24/7 support and full insurance to make your trip that little bit easier. Camptoo’s vans are up to 40% cheaper than traditional rental providers AND you’re putting your money back into the pockets of people in your area. Win-win!
On the road
Another top player in the travel sector is Co Charger, a neighbourhood sharing app that makes accessing EV charging points a breeze. Like Karshare, Co Charger matches those who own EV chargers with those driving electric cars. So if you’re making the trip in an electric vehicle (well done, you!), you can sign up to Co Charger and discover handy charging points along the way without having to scout out a public charger every time you need some extra juice.
You’ve got your podcasts, you’ve got your Spotify playlists, but there’s one more form of in-flight entertainment (or should we say in-drive) that is bound to grab your attention while on the road. The Audible app library has over 200,000 books on offer with lots of titles often read aloud by the authors themselves. Who doesn’t want to hear Michelle Obama’s memoir narrated by, well, Michelle Obama?! Features include offline listening, perfect for those off-road adventures with bad reception, and newspaper subscriptions if you’re keen to catch up on the morning headlines.
Granted, this may not be the most *exciting* app on our list, but it’s a surprisingly handy one that you won’t regret downloading, just in case. As fun as they are, road trips can come with unanticipated hiccups so having the option to report a breakdown in record time won’t go amiss. The AA app makes it super easy to notify support if you need help and even lets you track their arrival in real-time. Plus it comes with a 20% discount at service stations, car washes and over 1000 pubs and restaurants along the way so you can fuel up and fill up without hurting your wallet.
The what3words app may just blow your mind a bit. The team behind this innovative new app divided the entire world into 3 meter squares and gave each square a unique combination of three words. The words “bunks, icon, little”, for example, would lead you to the exact location of Banksy’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring in Bristol. It can be a great help while travelling if you are searching for the precise location of a BnB parking entrance or friend’s backyard or want to guide someone to the perfect lookout point on a beach or in a rural park.
When you arrive
You’ll have probably caught on to a little sharing economy theme running throughout this list, but one final mention has to go to the JustPark app, which makes it possible for people with spare parking spots to rent them out to drivers. There’s nothing worse than finally arriving at your destination only to spend the next half hour desperately searching for parking. With JustPark, you can reserve your exact parking spot in advance and simply rock up when you’re ready. The app also comes with automatic expiry reminders and easy ways to extend your parking so you can have peace of mind at all times.