If you’re like me, navigation isn’t always an easy thing, especially in a new city. Buying a map can definitely help but it won’t give you bus times or traffic information. These apps make it easy to get anywhere you need to go with just your phone. Some of these are perfect when you’re in traffic, and others will find the nearest bus stop to your destination but all of them will help you when you’re in a pinch.
1. Google Maps
Google was one of the first companies to start working on maps and it only gets better. Turn on your location services, and your destination and the app will take care of the rest. You can see traffic information and an estimated time of arrival, or switch to the public transportation icon and set the time you want to arrive at your location. Google shows the stops, transfers and lines you need to take. Use the satellite option to see exactly what your destination looks like.
- Get traffic information
- Find business reviews
- Use Google Earth to see what your destination looks like
- Traffic information isn’t always accurate
- Doesn’t have every public transportation option
- Might take awhile to find your location
One of the biggest problems with Google is that the information isn’t always accurate, and you often don’t know what caused the traffic jam. If you know whether it is an accident or construction, you can figure out when it will clear. Waze is all user run, so you get real time, accurate results. People post about things as they happen. You can see other users on the road, accidents, traffic and even where police officers are. The app gives the most accurate travel time of any out there, and you as a user can update as you see things.
- See where there are accidents and traffic
- Add things you see yourself
- Locate other Waze drivers on the road or stay invisible
- Dangerous to operate on the road
- Locations don’t always work
- Doesn’t always choose shortest route
Before smartphones, there was MapQuest and you had to print out your directions before you left. I know I’m not the only one that had MapQuest print outs all over the floor of my car. Luckily, when times changed, the company did too and developed an app so you could take the maps with you and save paper. The app makes it easy to add filters to show traffic patterns, accidents, parks, hotels and even more. You can completely customize how you view the map, which makes it easy to have a really simple map or add everything to get a good idea of the area.
- Add many different filters
- Customize you view
- Easy to find gas station or restaurant near you
- Can take awhile to zero in on your location
- Can be difficult to navigate
- Sometimes “favorite” addresses don’t save
4. Transit App
Something that many navigation apps are working on but haven’t quite mastered is public transportation. Transit is your one-stop for everything transit. Get accurate and updated times, and even watch your bus or train approach the station in real time. Scroll to find your destination and see all the lines that will get you there right now. Click on one to find all the times and schedule your arrival or departure. You can also visually compare all of them and see what will get you there fastest. The app now involves Uber and gives a price estimate.
- Compare different routes in an easy-to-read graph
- Set departure time and arrival time
- Look at the all the times for the stops near you
- Can be hard to navigate
- Takes a little while to pinpoint your location
- A few times are wrong
One of the worst feelings is needing a map but not having any service, that’s where Sygic comes in. You can download the maps for the area you want to explore and use those maps no matter how far you are from a cell tower. Look at an interactive 3D map and get directions to wherever you want to go. You can also post accidents and film them right in the app so you have proof of what happened. This app is especially good if you are traveling to a place where you don’t have a cell plan.
- Don’t need any service to use
- Download maps from all over the world
- See interactive 3D maps
- Takes up a lot of room on your device
- Can take awhile to download
- Doesn’t update quickly