Download these phone apps to make your show life easier.
By Pamela Britton-Baer | August 21, 2017
The American Quarter Horse Journal
People think traveling with kids is tough. Ha. They ought to try dragging a horse along with them. With some of the biggest shows of the year coming up, I thought now would be a good time to share some of my favorite apps. Some of my rodeo friends chimed in, too. Between the pros and the shows, I think we came up with a pretty good list.
Birds of a feather: Once upon a time, I headed north to a horse show and spotted what must have been thousands of ducks and geese flying south. I marveled at this oddity until I arrived at my location, where it’d been raining nonstop for days, and it felt so cold even the ducks knew to leave. Lesson learned: Before we go anywhere, we check the weather and then keep track of it as we travel. Our seasoned explorers recommend AccuWeather. It’ll give you daily highs and lows, as well as an hourly forecast that comes in handy. We also love the radar and the way you can play it back to see which way storms are headed. The minute-cast comes in handy, too, especially during heavy rainfall.
Plot Your Course: Raise your hand if your GPS system has taken you to a dead-end street in the middle of nowhere. This is especially exciting when you’re hauling horses. There’s nothing like having to back your rig for a mile because there’s no place to turn around. Forget those bad navigation apps. Google Maps is our favorite. Simple. Free. Accurate. And it includes a handy feature that shows you traffic delays. The app will even estimate how the expected length of that delay. Don’t like Google? Try Waze. The ultimate community-based app does the same thing as Google, only it relies on its users to keep things updated.
Hit the Gas: Raise your hand if you’ve had a moment of sheer panic watching your fuel gauge drop lower and lower, and there’s nothing for miles and miles, and no place to fill up. What’s Around Me will help calm you down. You’ll find a place to top off, as well as the best deals. It doesn’t have the ad-ware that counterparts GasBuddy and Gas Guru have. It seems to load better, too. You’ll find gas stations, fuel prices and roadside assistance with a swipe of a finger.
Sleep Easy: There’s nothing worse than arriving at a hotel only to learn the pool is the size of a postage stamp and your room faces a freeway. Our world travelers have found Trivago to be one of the best apps out there for finding the best hotels. It compiles prices from all over … like Expedia, Hotels.com and Travelocity. You’ll get a list of all the best deals, as well as personalized reviews.
Rooms With a View: Hotels not your thing? We’ve recommended AirBnB before, but it’s worth mentioning again. The site pairs apartments and homes with would-be renters. Most property owners offer a daily rate that’s on par with a local hotel. Forget tiny rooms and elevators. Rent a whole house at your next show. You can split the cost with your barn mates.
Going to the Dogs: Most of us can’t imagine leaving home without our canine friends. If you’re traveling long distances, consider using BringFido. The app allows you to find pet-friendly hotels. No more asking at the front desk whether it’s OK to bring in your precious pooc, and usually receiving a sniff of derision in the process. This app makes traveling with your four-legged friends as easy as playing fetch.
Trucking Along: Once upon a time, a friend said she had the bladder the size of an elephant. She wasn’t kidding. I’m not as gifted. TruckStopPro would have been a big help that day. It’s not free, but it’s worth its weight in gold if you’re trying to plan your potty stops.
Those Are the Breaks: It never fails. You’re trucking down the road, looking forward to time away with your horse, when suddenly your vehicle goes kaplat. When you’re hundreds of miles away from home, what do you do? Relax, there’s an app for that. OpenBay will help you locate mechanics and get quotes. You can even pay for your repairs through the app. This could be a lifesaver.
Lost ’n’ Found: It never fails, you’re leaving a store, distracted by the fact that your horse is kicking your trailer to pieces, so you hop in your truck and take off … only to realize you left your cell phone behind. Never fear, Life360 is here. This free app has been a lifesaver for our family. Locate your loved ones, find your lost cell phone, even track your trips and mileage on one of the best apps out there for keeping tabs on people.
Tripping on Trivia: So you’ve booked your hotel, you have your route planned and the weather is clear. Now it’s time to drive. Bor-Ring! Actually, there’s an app for putting a little spice in your traveling life. Roadside America will help you pinpoint roadside attractions — like that giant brick in Alabama or the museum of hair in Missouri. Why not make things more interesting along the way?
Ruling Class: Speaking of rules, did you know the AQHA Rulebook can be downloaded as an app? I used it at a show not too long ago to look up how to lease a horse through AQHA. Super-easy to navigate. Everything is right there at the tip of your fingers.
Whether driving long distances or short, some of these apps are guaranteed to help you get down the road with fewer headaches and a lot less stress. But let’s not stop there. What’s your favorite app? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we might include your idea in future issues of the Journal.