From finding the best route to take to work, learning how to de-stress through meditation, and score on the cheapest gas prices, the following is a list of 13 of the best apps out there right now.
Waze (by Google) is all the rage where I live, in L.A. This community app gives you real-time directions and guides you to taking the best (i.e., fastest) roads to reach your destination. It will find traffic jams—and have you take another route.
This will save you time, gas, and money. Some users say the routes are pretty creative, but that Waze ends up steering them in the right directions every time (no pun intended).
Bonus: Users have the option of getting directions from a celebrity voice, like Arnold Schwarzenegger. For that reason alone, that makes trying Waze worth it!
This is another transit app, but you don’t have to be in a car to use it. It will tell you the best route to get somewhere, as fast as possible, whether it’s by walking, bus, train, or ride- or bike-sharing. It is not available everywhere, so check out the app first.
Bonus: It’ll tell you your walking or biking time and calories burned.
This will find vacant parking spaces for you, in real time. It’s not to be confused with the next app, Smartpark.
We have ALL forgotten where we’ve parked our cars (admit it!) and now this app will save us from walking around every floor of a parking garage and endlessly clicking our car remotes in hopes of finding it.
Smartpark keeps track of your location as well as altitude (take that, confusing parking garages!) and will route you to your car via compass. Pretty impressive.
Of course, you cannot commute anyplace via car without good old gasoline! This app, GasBuddy, is handy AND will save you money on gas (we know how much the price fluctuates week to week!). You can also earn rewards and points through the app.
My grandpa used to do this by hand in a little notebook he kept in the glove compartment of his Ford, but now an app does it for you (of course). Triplog is triggered when you plug your phone in or connect to a Bluetooth device. When you drive more than five miles per hour, the app will start on its own and track your mileage via GPS.
You can then sync your data from your phone to your computer and edit data on either device (which I think is super cool and efficient). You can also manage your entire fleet via the app, which will show you driving routes taken and vehicles’ locations.
Cost: Pricing Varies; free for single user with limited options. As little as $1/month for personal drivers.
Bonus: It produces IRS-compliant mileage reports.
“A gym membership for the mind,” Headspace provides you with meditation and mindfulness techniques in ten-minute increments. Okay, I know, this may sound very Zen and L.A.-like, but I think everyone can benefit from taking a time-out and using this app.
After all, who among us doesn’t get stressed, especially from commuting, scouting out the cheapest gas station, or looking for our misplaced car?!
Cost: 30-day money back guarantee; as little as $6.24/year (with a 2-year subscription)
Haven’t you ever wished that all the best stories (across all platforms and genres) were in one, easy-to-reach place? That someone would just aggregate the top stories for you (from trending to viral ones)? Well, now they are with Digg. The content is curated and you can always read some pieces later if you cannot get to them all immediately. Fun fact: In an earlier rendition, Digg had allowed people to vote on its web content (up or down), “digging” and “burying.”
While I’m not the biggest fan of Audible, it’s gotten good reviews from others. It’s like books on tape, but via your cell phone. With over 180,000 titles, Audible lets you exchange books you don’t care for. Just be leery of their aggressive salespeople.
Cost: 30 day free trial; $14.95/month after
Atavist is a software publishing platform and tool for authors. Open to everyone and free to try, Atavist allows writers to design and publish their works on the web. What’s neat about Atavist (and why I prefer it over Audible), is it houses tens of thousands of stories from all walks of life: from small nonprofits to giant companies and from college students to national magazines.
The Avatist Magazine publishes new non-fiction story (5,000 to 30,000 words) every month and it’s accentuated with audio, video, and interactive graphics. It’s a digital-only magazine, and was an eight-time finalist for the National Magazine Awards. Additionally, it was the first digital-only magazine to win for feature writing.
Cost: Varied plans & pricing for authors to publish their work
Bonus: You can also use Atavist to see YOUR work, so get writing (aside from reading and watching).
I love love LOVE Spotify. Not only are so many of my (and your) favorite artists on it, making it fun and also economical for us, but they updated their mobile app and now provide curated playlists, too. You can—literally—find music for every mood. Fun!
Cost: Basic version is free; premium is $9.99/month
Like its name suggests, this app lets you stitch together playlists from over 40,000 radio shows and podcasts. Dubbed “radio on demand,” it’s a revolutionary way to organize your favorite talk radio programs and deliver it right to your phone — NPR forever!
This is my favorite app on here, no question. I live in L.A., where I see so many drivers’ heads looking down into their laps, texting away—whether they are at a stoplight or while driving – even on the freeway. It’s not worth it, people!
Put your phone in the trunk or glove compartment or download this app. It will block incoming texts and calls, so you will be a present driver, not a distracted one. Those texts CAN wait, I swear!
Cost: Single $1.99 purchase