RelayRides’ Top Five Driving Apps

So you have your RelayRides car booked next weekend for a trip to the mountains, or for a short drive in the city to run errands–what next? Well, if you’re like us, you may want to make your trip as convenient and enjoyable as possible, which is why we have gone ahead and pulled together this list of some of our favorite apps. Because just having a great set of wheels is only the beginning of the perfect ride, right?

Car Holder/Mount for Your Mobile Phone

We are all about safe and responsible driving at RelayRides, and often times these days the best driving habits start with not being distracted by your phone while behind the wheel. To help avoid dangerous distractions while driving with some of the apps below, we recommend the purchase of a car holder/mount for your phone. A barebones mount should be within most folks’ budgets–others with bells and whistles may cost more–and will certainly make driving with the apps below safer. We recommend a universal mount like the Skiva Strong Mount M1 Universal Car Holder, which is available on Amazon.com. Install your mount, set your playlist and driving coordinates, lock in your phone and you are all set for a safe drive.

Waze

Available on iOS, Droid and Blackberry

Waze is not your average, run-of -the-mill GPS app, rather it is a community-driven application that learns from users’ driving times to suggest routes and provide real-time traffic updates. In the spirit of peer-to-peer services like RelayRides, it gathers map data and other information from users who use the service, which is only part of the reason why we love this. Users can alert other drivers about accidents, traffic, speed traps, police as well as give the lowdown on roads, landmarks, house numbers and other information useful to drivers.

GasBuddy

Available on iOS, Droid and Blackberry

Like Waze, GasBuddy also harnesses the power of its community to help you find the lowest price at the pump available. The app allows users to locate nearby gas stations and lists current gas prices. An added perk is that for every gas price reported, you can earn points toward prize give-away entries. The last time we checked, the people at GasBuddy were giving away a $250 gas gift card every week–not too shabby!

DriveSafe.ly

Available on iOS, Droid, Blackberry and Windows Phones

For even cautious drivers, checking incoming texts is tempting. Enter DriveSafe.ly, a new app that gets rid of the urge altogether. DriveSafe.ly is a mobile application that reads text (SMS) messages and emails aloud in real time and automatically responds without drivers touching the mobile phone. Stay connected while being safe!

Spotify

Available on iOS, Droid, Blackberry, Windows Phones, Palms and Symbians

The Spotify mobile app is free only for their free radio function, which is the only radio you can save. That said, in breaking from the rest of this lists’ free apps, we are recommending their premium service, which is available for about the cost of downloading a CD on iTunes each month. As outlined on the Spotify website their premium subscribers get access all areas. And you can wirelessly sync all your favorite Spotify playlists to your phone and listen offline. Or go online and stream millions of tracks from the Spotify library. What we really like about this is the social functionality of the premium service–at a loss for what to listen to while driving to the coast? Check out lists that your Facebook friends have created.

TuneIn Radio

Available on iOS, Droid, Blackberry, Windows Phones, and Palms

It may seem counter-intuitive to have a radio app for a car that has a radio already, but bear with us. TuneIn Radio is billed as a new way to listen to music, sports, and news from every corner of the earth, and with over 70,000 radio stations and 2 million on-demand programs, it is just that. Tune in to streams from ESPN, BBC, CBS and TEDTalks while cruising around in your RelayRides car. The app comes in handy, for example, for the rabid sports fan on a road trip away from the home team, or just for a familiar station while driving an unfamiliar stretch of highway.