In a previous post, Bay and Bay Transportation talked about how important it is for you to stay connected to loved ones while on the road. Whether in Minnesota or nationwide, it can be refreshing to catch up after a long day of driving. Remember the days when you had to wait until the next rest stop to use the pay phone? Lucky for us, there are now more ways to stay in touch than ever before.
Our previous earlier blog post gave you some ideas for different ways to reach out to friends and family. Here are the top methods we suggested:
- Phone calls or video chats
- Messaging and chat services
- “Check-in” apps
- Start your own blog
- Letters, cards, and postcards
Technology has become increasingly helpful for CDL drivers. Advances have improved their quality of life during travel with hands-free calling devices, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), updated safety equipment, fuel measurement, detailed mileage tracking, and so much more.
With smartphones and tablets becoming so popular, we at Bay and Bay, want to give you some ideas for apps that you would find beneficial while on the road. Many are free and all are definitely worth a look.
Finding Wi-Fi Hotspots
Why waste your data when you can easily locate FREE Wi-Fi wherever you go without having to connect to the internet? Wi-Finder for iOS or Android uses your phone’s GPS to locate hotspots near you. You can also filter search results by location type (e.g. hotel, café, restaurant, etc.). Osmino Wi-Fi is a similar app made specifically for Android. Both apps provide the option to display search results as a list or map.
Several apps have been created that allow for free or very inexpensive calls to landlines and mobiles. Skype is one of the most well-known of these apps. Plans for unlimited landline and mobile calling in the US and Canada start from $2.99/mo. Mobile and landline calling using Google Voice is free within the US and Canada. Viber for iOS or Android costs about 1.9 cents a minute for mobile and landline phones, but Viber-to-Viber calls are free.
Sometimes it’s best to just talk with someone in-person. Unless they ride with you, friends and family are hard to talk to in-person, while in route. However, video calls are the next best thing. Skype, Google Hangouts, Facetime, and Viber all offer free video calling if both individuals use the app. They each offer group or conference calling, but the max number of callers varies depending on the app.
Messaging and chat capabilities are available through Skype, Viber, Google Hangouts, and Facebook messenger for iOS or Android. Contacts+ is an electronic address book that keeps your contacts all in one place. It functions with text messaging, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, so you don’t have to launch each app individually. Other group chat apps to checkout are Telegram and Group Me. Make sure you only use messaging and chat once your rig has been safely parked.
Digital and “Real” Postcards
You won’t always have time for a phone or video call, and messaging can only explain things so far. You can use Instagram to send digital postcards of the many places you visit. You can also upload them to Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr. With Postagram, you can take pictures and then send them as real postcards. This app is free to download but may cost about a buck to mail, depending on how far you are mailing it.
Instead of calling at every stop to keep people updated on your trip, try out a “check-in” app. Swarm was created by Foursquare as a way to share your location with friends. Like photography? MoPho.to is another location-based app where you post a picture and then tag the picture using your location. If you’d rather only share your location with designated friends, try out Rally Up. This app also lets you post to Facebook and send group messages about your location.
Now that we’ve given you some ideas, try some out! Bay and Bay Transportation is a Minnesota-based commercial trucking company that values family, and wants you to stay connected to them while on the road. If you use any of these apps, please let us know how it works for you.