If you’re planning a road trip soon, don’t leave the house without grabbing the iExit app for your iPhone and/or iPad. Memorial Day weekend is around the corner and that’s the unofficial start of the summer for many people in the US. To celebrate what really should be a somber holiday, many families head out for a mini-vacation, while dreading jammed highways and miles between rest stops.
Whether you’re leaving for Memorial Day weekend or planning a driving vacation for the summer, you need to buy iExit from the iTunes App Store (an Android app is in the works). iExit is an app that provides essential information about what rest areas, stores, hotels, and restaurants are available at upcoming highway exits.
I have discovered the hard way that you can’t always rely upon exit signs to reliably inform you which facilities are located conveniently off of the exit. One exit sign I know of on I-95 lists about ten restaurants off of that exit. Not only is the closest restaurant about five miles away from the exit, the traffic pattern to get on and off the highway is extremely complicated. The exit is definitely a trap for unwary travelers.
Now anyone armed with iExit won’t be fooled by misleading highway signs!
The beauty of iExit is that it both tells and shows you which facilities are at the nearest exits. You can look at a list to see which facilities are located at nearby exits and how far the distance is to each one. You can also look at a map to see the location of the facilities to avoid any complex traffic patterns. On the large iPad screen you can see both the map and the list at the same time (good news, the same app works on both the iPad and the iPhone).
Here is what the list looks like on the iPhone:
Here is what the combined list and map look like on the iPad:
You can customize your searches too, based upon what your needs are. Need a restroom fast? Then just search for rest areas or restaurants. Forgot to pack sunscreen for your trip to the shore? Check iExit to find a Target on the way to your vacation. Notice your fuel gauge running low? Search for the nearest gas station.
You can also filter your searches for things you don’t need to see. If you don’t need to see hotels or gas stations but you do want to see restaurants and convenience stores, you can customize your search easily.
You can search by favorite restaurants too. Let’s say the only restaurant everyone in the family agrees upon is Chipotle. You can search to see if there is a Chipotle within a reasonable driving distance.
iExit makes searching more efficient in many ways. Sure, you could search on Google to find the closest Chipotle’s but the closest one might be out of the way for you. iExit figures out which locations won’t take you on an inconvenient detour.
Do you have a child who is newly potty trained? This app may just be worth getting an iPhone for, so you can locate the closest restrooms when you are in a hurry. I wish I had this app when my kids were young!
Another handy feature of iExit is the ability to place a call on your iPhone directly from the app. Let’s say your trip is taking longer than expected and you decide to stay in a hotel for the night. You search on the app for a Staybridge Suites to see if one is close by and along your route. iExit tells you there is one eight miles down the road, two exits away. You press the call button on the app to see if they have a one bedroom suite available that will comfortably sleep your family of five and accommodate Fido. You’re in luck, they have plenty of room for you, your family and Fido. Imagine what a challenge that would have been without iExit!
Words to the Wise
- Don’t use this while you are the driver. Give your iPhone or iPad to your significant other in the passenger seat. If you’re traveling alone with the kids you may still be able to use iExit. The app is so easy to use so a kid in the back seat may be able to help, unless they’re still young enough for a car seat, and even then they may be able to figure it out.
- Keep your iPhone or iPad plugged into a car charger when using this app (See, Ready, Set, Charge! to learn more about charging your devices on the go). This app uses Location Services to determine where you are. Location Services can really drain your battery quickly so keep device charging while you use the app. The app isn’t very useful if your device has zero battery life left!
- To maximize the utility of iExit, use it in combination with the Google Maps app Show Traffic feature (See, Killer Apps to learn how to activate Show Traffic on Google Maps). By checking with Google Maps, you can avoid getting off the highway and ending up on a side road jammed with traffic.
- Combine your use of iExit with the Gas Buddy app to find the most convenient gas station with the best prices.
- Load the app on both your iPhone and iPad. The iPad app has a much better viewing area, but your kids may be busy using your iPad in the back seat to entertain themselves when you need to use iExit. Do you really want to interrupt their Angry Birds game to use iExit? I didn’t think so. Similarly, your spouse may be using the iPhone to call work when you hear a voice from the back seat whining that she’s hungry. Then it’s okay to interrupt her Angry Birds game!
I haven’t even begun to explain all the other nifty features of this app. I will let the developer do that for you in this handy YouTube video:
If you’re planning a road trip and have an iPhone and/or an iPad, then you should get iExit. The fewer hassles you have during your travels, the more you will enjoy your vacation!
Do you have an upcoming road trip planned? Is knowing the best place to stop important to you? Let us know in the Comment section below!
* Image by fakoman
** Image by Tony Hammond