Many thanks to you who last year had your location services enabled on your Android phone on last Thanksgiving because Google Maps was able to give us a forecast this year based upon that. If you traveled last year around Thanksgiving, it will be about the same mess this year. The worst time to be on the road on Wednesday is between 3 pm and 5 pm, so go early (unless you’re in Boston and forget about your heaviest day of Tuesday) or wait until after 7 pm. If you have weekend guests, it’s better for then to return home on Sunday rather than Saturday (if you all can handle each other for another day). Google Maps found that the traffic is 40 percent worse on Saturday than the next day. As for the worst Thanksgiving travel cities, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Philadelphia (which was No. 1 in 2012 and 2013) follow L.A. among the three worst. Just to remind the geography challenged that Baltimore is smack in the middle between DC and Philly. As a Google search aside, “ham shops” are the most-searched destinations for last-minute errands on Wednesday. They are followed by pie shops and liquor stores. Thanksgiving Day we looked for “buffet restaurants”.
Think traffic and you may think of A.A.A. You can download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Then you can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements and request AAA roadside assistance for example. Hopefully, you won’t need the latter app capability. As of now, Apple Watch owners can now find the gas station that is the fastest to get to or the station with the cheapest price for the type of fuel they use in their vehicle including turn-by-turn directions to that station. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
With all the holiday driving you will be doing, it is important for you to be one with your car. The company, Automatic, has an adapter that uses a smartphone and can turn almost every car into a connected car. This is not just a GPS navigational app. This gadget can log business mileage, help you with reduce fuel costs by telling you how to correct bad driving habits, in crashes automatically alerts emergency services with your location and contact those you want to know what happened and that help is on the way, and finally while you are stuck in traffic on I95 between Philly and DC, it can tell you why the “check engine” light came on. But an important feature during this season is that when you have parked on one of those huge and over-crowded shopping mall or outlet parking lots, it remembers where you parked the car and can help you find it again easily. The cost for the adapter is affordable at $99.95. (Not too bad for a Christmas gift for the gadget geek in your life.) The app is free. Take a look at their video on this page and stay tuned for more specifics and review of this adapter and app.