Christmas is here! Or rather, it’s somewhere else, if there’s traveling to be done. Fortunately, apps can help you find your way – and avoid being snowed in. This is part three of our ongoing planning for Christmas series; if you missed the others, you can find them below.
Part three: the best travel and weather apps
There’s extra stress when traveling during the holidays. The last thing you want is to be going precisely the wrong way down a very long road when you were due to meet the in-laws for Christmas drinks an hour ago. So get some apps to ensure you know where you’re going – and what it’ll be like when you get there.
There are a ton of travel and weather apps out there, but for our money, these are the ones you should definitely install before yo-ho-ho becomes yo-oh-no.
Google Maps (free)
There’s no longer anything inherently wrong with Apple Maps, and we quite often use it for driving directions. However, it’s pretty poor at enabling you to search for locations, terrible with public transport, and also doesn’t allow you to save chunks of a map for offline use. Fortunately, Google Maps ably deals with all those things, and is entirely free. Utterly essential, then, when heading into the wilds for a party (as in, anywhere without a strong cellular signal).
We’ve already mentioned Google Maps as your best companion for getting where you need to go, but you might need a second opinion, especially when traveling by car. Waze is also worth having installed, because it’s packed full of to-the-second data crowdsourced from loads of users. And so when you’re on the way to the in-laws, with a car loaded down with gifts, you’ll get a heads-up about any traffic incidents on your route, and can take action accordingly.
Hello Weather (free or $2/£2 per month)
Too many free weather apps are packed full of adverts rather than weather forecasts. Hello Weather merely urges you to upgrade with a banner. All other available space is used to present a clear, vibrant overview of whatever weather’s coming your way. The presentation isn’t unlike iOS favorite Dark Sky, but Hello Weather is a lot more fun and colorful. It also happens to have an excellent Home screen widget, for when you want the quickest possible at-a-glance forecast view.
CARROT Weather ($5/£5)
This weather app also provides a forecast for the coming week, but adds immediate conditions – and plenty of snark. If you fancy attempting to burn off a bit of your Christmas dinner with an evening constitutional, use CARROT to see whether it’s going to pour down over the next hour first. And if a downpour is imminent, CARROT will, in seasonal fashion, cheerily note something like: “At least it’s not acid rain”. It’s like Santa’s right there in the room with you!
Weather on the Way ($1/£1 per month)
If you’re traveling a short distance during the festive season, a standard weather forecast app will do. But as you head into road trip territory, it can be tricky and time-consuming to plan for all eventualities along your route. Until now, because feed Weather on the Way two locations and it smartly plots your journey between them and predicts what the weather’s going to do in each place as you get there. This can be viewed on a map or as a timeline that provides more detailed conditions.