There is just something about using our phone to navigate that is just easier than using our on-board navigation. There seems to be an endless amount of app choices, and combine that with the applications that come pre-downloaded on our phone it’s hard to decide which navigation apps are worth downloading, and which navigation apps are just taking up space. Picking out an app to use while traveling, or even on your daily route, doesn’t have to be a major headache, and with these free apps, it won’t cost you a dime.
I’ll start this list with my personal favorite navigation app: Waze. Waze is completely free to use and it’s on of the most user-friendly applications I have on my phone all together. I find Waze to be more accurate than other traffic apps because it’s based on a network of other users’ inputs. This means the data is updated constantly and by people who are experiencing it in real-time. My favorite part of using Waze is the ability to see comments and to respond to other people. For me, that can give me information about accidents, traffic stops, and speed traps, and to get specific details from other users.
Apple products are everywhere, and since the company creates everything from smart watches to tablets it isn’t surprising to see that they’ve found their way to be useful in our cars too. Apple Maps is really only useful to iPhone users, but it has a lot to offer. From a birds-eye view to a 3D satellite map, navigation is easier than ever. The app allows you to save your favorite addresses, and access your contacts to keep your friend’s addresses at your fingertips.
Google Maps is useful for navigation, among many other things, and you can get it on any device. Whether you are searching for a specific address or trying to look for a new pizza joint, Google Maps can take you just about everywhere. This one came standard on my phone, so I used it for several years, and it’s still my go-to app when I’m on the go.
Here Maps is the only phone application I’ve never personally used, but after reading the reviews I decided to download it and try it out. Here Maps has a lot of the same features as other navigation apps, but there is one feature that stands out to me: offline navigation. As someone who frequently travels in places where service can be unreliable — and sometimes nonexistent — so the ability to continue to access my navigation can be critical. If you live in a major city you can appreciate the apps “bike” feature to get the best directions for traveling on your bike or scooter.
Whatever app you chose, there are a lot of free options that give us extra options we didn’t realize could be useful. Some of these apps come standard on your phone, like Apple Maps on iPhones, but that doesn’t mean it’s the app you are stuck using. Since all of these apps are free, they are worth downloading and seeing which one you personally like the best.