Get the apps you need for school holiday trips

Best driving apps for school holidays 2014

The school holidays are about to start, so prepare for the traditional backseat standards of ‘are we there yet’ and ‘mum… I need a wee’. Don’t panic, though, here’s the Crawley Down Group’s guide to summer holiday driving apps to ensure your kids don’t drive you to distraction…

Get the apps you need for school holiday trips

Get the apps you need for school holiday trips

Driving apps for school holiday road trips

Browse our special summer holiday selection of apps to keep the children happy and adults sane as you head for hols or days out.

days-outWhere to go… 2014 AA Days Out Guide
First job is to decide where you’re going to point your car once it’s filled with the aforementioned children. Kids seemingly have just two words in their travel vocab, so be sure you have some ammunition to fire back at their demand for a trip to ‘Alton Towers’. Fortunately, the 2014 AA Days Out Guide has more than 1,800 suggestions and information for UK attractions. From stately homes, castles and gardens, to theme parks, zoos, museums and galleries, there should be something to tempt. Most entries will include admission price info, contact details and multimedia links.
Top tip: Use the search around current location, or search around location of choice to automatically bring up all days out that are nearby.
How much: £Free
Get it for iOS
Get it for Android 

aa-roadwatch-proAvoid snarl-ups…  AA Roadwatch Pro
The AA returns to save the day once again. This time it’s to help avoid the UK’s holiday-clogged arteries as thousands of desperate parents pour on to the streets in search of ‘fun’ to appease bored offspring. This app uses data from sat-nav leader TomTom and will let you enter two postcodes and monitor all jams en-route as they appear. With this knowledge in hand, you can re-route before your grind to a halt. You’ll need to pay a yearly subscription, but at £1.99 it’s a steal.
Top tip: Set up an alert for your trip and the app will send you a message if any new jams occur. Also, it comes with a seven-day free trial if the £1.99-a-year subscription is putting you off.
Get it for iOS

next-junctionAvoid motorway madness… Next Junction app
The admission price of your chosen attraction is likely to seriously dent your finances, so make sure you don’t plunge deeper into debt by purchasing food, petrol or accommodation on the motorway. Next Junction lets you search for off-motorway (hence cheaper) amenities such as petrol stations, pubs, restaurants, hotels and caravan sites. It will also search for attractions. The app uses GPS, so knows where you are and will tell you what junction to take as you evacuate the motorway. It works across the entire UK motorway network. Free database updates are included in the purchase price.
Top tip: Use this app to save on fuel and snacks. With fuel alone, heading off the motorway is likely to save you around 10p a litre… which could easily be more than £7.00 when filling up a standard family car.
How much: £0.69p
Get it for iOS
Coming soon for Android

fastfoodBad food makes happy kids… Fast Food UK
Fast food might not be great for kids, but the odd sortie into KFC and McDonalds certainly won’t do them any lasting harm. It’s a great way to grab some quick food and get back on the road to take advantage of quieter lunchtime traffic. Get this app and avoid that timewasting tradition of trawling unfamiliar towns looking for your favourite fast food outlet. The app uses GPS to grab your location and direct you to the closest ‘restaurant’. It also gives you the opportunity to filter results.
Top tip: Open directions to the outlet directly from the app itself.
How much: £0.69p
Get it for iOS
Get an Android fast food finder

tolietsMum… I need a wee… Toilet Finder
It’s the inevitable call from the backseat that every driver dreads. Wasting time looking for toilets and desperately trying to avoid bumps in the road can seriously dent the enjoyment of your family day out. However, download this app and you’ll have a fighting chance of retaining dry upholstery and happy kids. The app uses GPS to locate your nearest public toilet – with more than 60,000 logged throughout the world.
Top tip: Submit new public toilets to help build the already huge database of loos.
How much: £Free
Get it for iOS
 
Get it for Android

radio-playerEntertain them… Radio Player
There aren’t many radio stations that appeal to young kids – which is where Radio Player app can fill the void. This digital radio app has everything from the mainstream to student radio stations – plus several that are dedicated entirely to kids. Grab yourself a Bluetooth transmitter for a few pounds and play out through your car’s sound system.
Top tip: Tune in to Fun Kids radio. Find out more at funkidslive.com
How much: £Free
Get it for iOS 
Get it for Android

nearly-thereRevolt on the back seat… Are We Nearly There Yet
When things start to get tetchy on the backseat – usually by the end of your street – it’s time to crack open this app. It keeps them occupied with fun facts and I Spy questions that are based on the route that you’re travelling. An old-school game given a modern interactive makeover.
How much: £Free
Top tip: Use it to keep kids occupied on otherwise tedious motorway trips.
Get it for iOS

 

omwWe’ll be there soon… OMW App
If you’re travelling to meet friends or family, they’ll want to know when you’ll be arriving… but finding yourself stuck in the middle of a traffic jam in the back of nowhere makes it difficult to give any meaningful ETA. That’s where this app steps up to the plate. Simply add your destination postcode and the mobile phone number of the person you’re visiting – and they’ll receive a link to a screen that shows your location and estimated time of arrival. It constantly updates, too, so traffic jams will be taken into account.
Top tip: A great way to ensure that your hosts don’t light that BBQ too soon.
How much: £Free
Get it for iOS

weatherFour seasons in one day… Met Office Weather Application
We couldn’t get through a whole feature looking at heading out in Britain without mentioning the weather. Heading for the beach only to find you’ve arrived at the same time as a mini tornado from the Caribbean tends to put a slight dampener on your daytrip, which is why you need the Met Office Weather App on your phone. Get the best up-to-the-minute updates on weather as you travel – allowing for mid-route diversions to indoor activities should the climate take a turn for the worse.

Top tip: Use the hourly updates for the location of your choice as you travel.
How much: £Free
Get it for iOS
Get it for Android

cyclopsStay under the limit… Cyclops speed monitor and camera warning
We should always stay within speed limits, but unfamiliar roads can make it hard to know what that limit is. Add boisterous backseat occupants to the equation and it becomes easy to drift over the prevailing speed limit. Cyclops will keep an eye on your speed and tell you if you’re exceeding the current limit, while also warning you of any speed cameras. The app uses Waypoint Technology™ to locate your car – which helps prevent false alarms – and warns you of live mobile cameras and camera vans, frequent mobile camera sites, fixed speed cameras, red light cameras, average speed cameras, variable speed cameras, and temporary cameras.
Top tip: Use Cyclops for free for 14 days – after which it’ll £2.99/year
How much: £Free then £2.99 per year
Get it for iOS

AA Parking

AA Parking

Car park panic… AA Parking
In days of old, a summer trip out would involve three hours in a traffic jam followed by an hour stalking a parking space – leaving time for a quick portion of soggy chips and an ice cream before it was time to head back home. Fortunately, the AA Parking app can help you find your nearest car park or parking bay in just minutes. The app has a handy feature that shows real-time parking availability in connected car parks. It’ll also give you prices, opening hours and directions. More time for more soggy chips and bank-busting ice creams… happy days.
Top tip: Heading for coastal towns or city centres? Use the app to find park and ride services – they’ll save plenty of cash.
How much: £1.99
Get it for iOS
Get it for Android

find-my-carDude, where’s my car… Find My Car
Have you ever parked in a vast theme park car park and neglected to note your location – only to spend several hours hunting it down as you come to leave? This is where the Find My Car app will help. It allows you to save your car’s exact location using GPS, then, on your return, simply open up the app and it will display the fastest walking route back to your vehicle. It’ll also tell you how far you have to go and display a real-time ETA. Could become an invaluable tool this summer.
Top tip: Use for theme parks, festivals or even at campsites to find your tent.
How much: £Free
Get it for iOS
Get it for Android (Alternative app for Android devices)

ice-creamCool it… Ice Cream Finder
When it comes to heading home, there’s no better carrot for extracting kids from any attraction than the promise of an ice cream on the return journey. However, failing to deliver on this promise will have serious implications for your sanity – which is why Ice Cream Finder makes a must-have app this summer.
Top tip: Use GPS to find the nearest ice cream-selling outlet to you
How much: £0.69p
Get it for iOS
Get it for Android (Alternative app for Android devices)

stainsClean-up time… Ultimate Stain Remover Tips
You made it back from your day out and now it’s time to take a deep breath and see what stains have been deposited on your backseat upholstery. From ice cream to tomato sauce and beyond, this app dishes the dirt on the best way clean just about any type of fabric abuse the kids can come up with.
Top tip: The app also has info on removing suspicious odours.
How much: Free
Get it for iOS 
Get it for Android

 

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