Must download apps for a last minute road trip

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, but if you don’t have plans yet, it’s not too late to plan a getaway. Thanks to technology, hopping in the car for a last minute road trip is no big deal. We’ve gathered a list of the apps you must download before you drive off.

Use Airbnb to find accommodations along your route. You can book directly from your phone and find something in your budget. Whether you are looking to couch surf or rent a beach house, all the options are available for you.

Make your car a smart car with Metromile. With the Metromile app, you can decode check engine lights on the road. If something comes up, you’ll know if you need to hurry in or if you just left your gas cap off.

Find unique roadside stops with Roadtrippers app. You can set a distance off the road you are willing to explore, and the app does the rest. You can also use this to map to your destination or try Waze to keep you alert of traffic, accidents and other roadblocks.

Ear candy: Download the Podcasts app to tune into your favorite podcast on the road. We’ve suggested some of our favorite podcasts here.

Cut costs by finding the cheapest gas through Gas Buddy, which locates gas stations near you and syncs their current gas prices.

If you don’t drive very often during the week, but love to road trip on the weekends, you could save a ton of money on pay-per-mile insurance with Metromile. You won’t be charged for miles you drive over 250/day (150 in certain states), so if you go on a long trip, you’ll actually save big. Get a free quote here.

Biking 101: The Commute

May is National Bike Month, and what better time to try your hand at a new commute? More than half of Americans live within five miles of their office, which is about a 30 minute bike ride. Biking to work offers many benefits: it saves time and money and is good for the environment. Plus, you’ll getting a workout in!

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If you’re thinking about biking to work, but don’t know what you need or where to get started, we’ve gathered some best practices and good habits for your bike commute:

Bike to Work 101

Get your gear: You don’t need to have a full bicycle kit to ride to work. However, we do recommend wearing a sturdy helmet and finding a reliable bike lock. Many urban offices have a bike room you can store your bike in during the day, so be sure to utilize that if it’s an option.

Test ride: Google Maps offers routes for an optimized bike commute on streets with bike paths. Test your ride in off-commute hours or on a non-work day to get a hang of your route.

Follow the rules of the road: Always bike in the same direction of traffic, and keep a pulse on the cars, bikes and pedestrians around you. Read more bicycle safety tips here.

Good Habits

Keep the phone out of sight: You’ll want to keep your eyes on the road and your ears out for honking, approaching cars and ambulances.

Use clear hand signals: Using your left hand to signal while biking helps communicate your route clearly with the drivers around you.

Dress for the ride: Make sure the drivers around you are aware you are there, and on two wheels. Wear bright colors during the day and reflective gear at night.

National Bike to Work Week is May 16-20, 2016. Bike to Work Day is May 20, 2016.

Don’t have a bike? Many urban areas have bike share programs, which allow riders an allotted time for transportation for a small annual fee. If you find yourself on two wheels more often than four, pay-per-mile car insurance could be a great option for you. Find out more here.

Smart Driving: Tips to Keep Your Eyes on The Road

Did you know that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month? There is a time and place for Snapchatting your friends, but it’s not when you’re behind the wheel. With new and exciting technology, it has become more and more tempting to take your eyes off the road.

smart driving

While distracted driving comes in many forms, cell phone use is at the top. The below tips will help you keep your eyes on the road.

  1. Get clear on where you are going before you depart. Don’t wait until you are halfway down the block to set your destination address. Waze, a navigation app, can detect motion and confirms if the driver or passenger is the one using the phone.
  2. Put your phone in the backseat where you can’t reach it. If you think you’ll still be tempted to reach around, turn off your sound and notifications so you won’t feel the digital pull. Even better, turn your phone off!
  3. Download DriveMode from AT&T. When enabled, you can customize an auto-reply that will respond to all incoming messages.
  4. Ask passengers to respond to any texts you’re worried about missing.
  5. Don’t rely on Bluetooth and voice commands. These commands can still be distracting and take your attention off the road.

Drivers aren’t just “texting and driving anymore,” they are distracted by every smart aspect of their phone. Don’t put yourself in danger either – speak up if you’re in the car with someone who is distracted while driving. Safe travels!

How to Make Your Spring Break Road Trip the Best One Yet

Are you and your friends hitting the road for Spring Break? Whether you’re heading to a big beach party in Miami or a low-key wine trip in Napa, Metromile has your best interests in mind when it comes to their road trip policy. With our per-mile insurance, any miles you drive above 250/day (150/day in certain states) are on us.

Check out our road trip tips below for a spectacular spring break.

road trip tips

Double check: Make sure your car is up-to-date with oil changes and maintenance needs, and check your tire pressure. If you are concerned, swing by a local mechanic who can give your car the okay for a long road trip. Before departing, confirm that you and the other drivers have their license, and the car has proof of registration and insurance.

Alert, alert: Take turns behind the wheel to keep the driver awake and alert. Assign the passenger sitting shotgun to stay awake and chat with the driver. Create a playlist with all of your favorite jams and sing along!

Map your trip: Queue up your trip in Google Maps or Waze, but be sure to familiarize yourself with the route ahead of time.

On a budget? Use a fuel cost estimator to get an idea of what you’ll be spending on gas, and save on snacks by stocking up at your local grocery store, instead of buying overpriced food at a roadside stations.

Bring a road trip survival kit: Package a car charger, water bottles, first aid kit, extra set of car keys, and basic car tools such as jumper cables, flares, and a flashlight. Leave the survival kit in your car after the trip to have in the case of an emergency.

Don’t forget the essentials: sunglasses, suntan lotion, and a phone charger so you can Snapchat every moment of your trip. For more ideas, check out our spring break checklist.

If you find yourself mostly using your car for road trips, you could benefit from Metromile pay-per-mile insurance. Get a free quote here. Enjoy your trip!

Easy Ways to Find a Work Carpool

Did you know that a solo drive to work costs an average of $5,000 a year and that many people spend 250 hours alone in a car? If this applies to you, carpooling can be a great way to save thousands on tolls and gas. It also can give you valuable time back to be productive (checking emails, reading the news) when you’re in the passenger seat. The hassle of finding someone who has a similar route and schedule as you might seem daunting, so we’ve got the low-down on simplifying your carpool strategy.

carpool

Looking for someone to carpool with? Try one of these apps that match you to a driver or rider with a similar route.

Scoop allows you to schedule morning and afternoon commutes either independently or together. Based on your route, schedule and traffic, trips are custom tailored for you and the drivers. If you choose to drive a carpool, that’s more cash in your pocket. Scoop even guarantees you a ride home, so you’ll never have to worry about being stuck at work.

Hitch A Ride helps you connect with colleagues to see who lives nearby – and opens the floor to discuss carpool destinations. Payment terms are negotiated between you and the driver- meaning you can either pay a flat rate or pick up a bagel for them in the morning. You can even connect with your social networks to see where your friends are travelling – and hop in for the ride!

UberPOOL matches riders heading in the same direction, and the trip costs up to 50% less than UberX. If you find yourself frequently hopping in a rideshare to save time on your commute, this is a great alternative. It only adds a few minutes to your ride, and you could meet a new friend.

Riding with a friend or coworker? Follow these tips to make sure it’s a smooth ride:

  • Discuss the pickup point. Is the driver picking everyone up at home? Are you meeting at a convenient location for everyone?
  • If everyone is going to take turns driving, create a schedule that you all agree on. Be flexible if there is a day when someone needs to switch drivers.
  • Decide on payment terms based on mileage and fuel cost. If everyone is taking turns driving equally, you may not need to exchange cash.
  • Make some ground rules and be respectful of them. How long will the driver wait if someone is late? When will you exchange payment? Is talking on cell phones OK?

Need a way to fill the silence? Check out our list of commute-friendly podcasts!

If you are participating in a carpool you’ll likely be driving your car less frequently, so you could really save a lot of money with pay-per-mile car insurance. Learn more and get your free quote here.

Ear Candy: Podcasts for the Daily Commute

Whether driving or using alternative forms of transportation, the monotony of a daily commute can be exhausting. Turn left here, turn right there, sit in stopped traffic for twenty minutes… To make your commute more enjoyable, we’re here with some great podcasts to tune in to. The best part? They’re almost all free. Many will have you on the edge of your seat with suspense or crying because you are laughing so hard.

commuting tips

Serial tells one true story over the course of a season. Each episode, you are given more and more information about the plot and characters, so episodes must be listened to in order. Season one follows an unsolved murder mystery, and season two follows U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban and is now home. It’s captivating – you won’t want to get out of your car (or bus)!

The Moth records stories told by everyday people, unscripted, to a crowd of storytelling enthusiasts worldwide. The stories are strung together by a common theme into a weekly podcast that comes out on Tuesdays. See if there is a live story slam near you (you can enter to share your own story too).

Stuff You Should Know has something for everyone – from learning how jackhammers work to discovering the origins of dark fairy tales. You can get the lowdown now on their website.

TED Radio Hour circles through many fascinating inventions, approaches, creations and more. They are based on real TED Talks given by speakers on the famed TED stage. Also, check out the TEDTalks: Technology podcast where inventors and researchers in tech share their visions and successes.

Dinner Party Download will get you up-to-date on culture, food and conversation. Guests include creative and comedic celebrities, such as Steve Martin, Jason Schwartzmann, Brie Larson and Olivia Wilde. You’ll be full of conversation starters for your next party.

We’re always looking for new podcasts to add to our library. What are you listening to? Share with us below in the comments. And if your podcast-filled commute has you taking the bus instead of driving, pay-per-mile insurance could be a great option for you! Learn more here.

All Aboard! The Future of Public Transportation

You likely live a busy life and want to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. Driving your car can be a good option when you are in a pinch, but with new innovations, public transportation is also a viable alternative. An alternative that doesn’t require circling around to find a parking spot! Since it’s safe to say teleportation won’t be happening anytime soon, here are some ways that public transit is becoming faster, easier and more enjoyable.

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Get there faster with rapid transit.
The first rapid bus lines should be up and running in the Bay Area by 2018. A sort of hybrid between a bus and subway, rapid bus lines have dedicated lanes to free them of car traffic, and platforms to ensure seamless boarding. Over on the East Coast, Virginia recently debuted the Metroway system, a similar concept where a new fleet of buses travel in a dedicated lane and breeze by traffic.

Take a free ride on the hyped-up hyperloop.
Want to travel at the speed of sound? How about for free? There has been lots of hype surrounding the Hyperloop, an Elon Musk project (AKA the same guy who brought about the Tesla) that promises to bring travelers from SF to LA in 30 minutes. Now, Dirk Ahlborn, the CEO of the project, is dropping hints that the trip could potentially be free or significantly discounted. Now that’s something we could get on board with.

Make the ride more enjoyable.
Even if your commute is fast, the last thing you want to deal with is crowds, and in the winter especially, the germs that come with it. The Cyclean, which recently won the Red Dot Award (an international product design prize), reinvents the typical handle by introducing a built-in cleaning function. While there aren’t any cities cities are currently planning to use this technology, it is reassuring to know that it’s out there! The Chicago Transit Authority is also helping to ensure a more enjoyable experience with the Courtesy Campaign, an award-winning ad campaign that humorously shames riders into avoiding annoying practices like blocking doorways, eating smelly food or littering.

If you find yourself driving less and taking public transportation more, you could save a ton of money (like more than $500) with Metromile’s pay-per-mile car insurance offering. It’s great way to save for people who drive less than 200 miles per week – learn more here!

Give the Gift of a Better Commute This Year

The holiday season is in full force, but don’t despair if you still haven’t found the perfect present. While it’s tempting to snag that “it gift” flying off the shelves, it might be hard to accomplish this feat so late in the game. Try taking a creative, unique approach this year and give the gift of a better commute. While this may seem abstract, make it tangible with the following presents that make the time getting to and from work more enjoyable.

better_commute_gifts

Better reading
Trying to read on a mobile phone puts a serious strain on the eyes, so a great gift could be one of the new lightweight e-readers like the Nook Glowlight or the Kindle Paperwhite. And if they already have an e-reader, give them a subscription to an unlimited book rental service for a year’s worth of nonstop reading. Everyone always loves a good book, especially if it helps make the commute go by faster!

Better biking
For that very special someone on your list, spring for a beautiful (and functional) commuter bike like a Public bike or folding Hummingbird bike. Even if they don’t already bike to work, this could be just the motivation needed to try it out. And for someone that already bikes on daily basis, upgrade their ride with an accessory like a mountable speaker or sleek new bike bag.

Better listening
Now that the long-awaited second season of the Serial podcast is out, it’s the perfect time to gift some brand new headphones. Both noise-isolating and noise-cancelling headphones work to limit the external noise that could mess with your listening experience (and could make you miss an important detail from Sarah Koenig). These features, once limited to the expensive Bose headphones, are now in an array of models to choose from. You could also gift a membership to a premium streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music. An entire year of ad-free tunes? Now that’s something special.

Give one of these gifts and they’ll never know the thoughtful present was actually last minute. Not only will you be making someone’s commute more enjoyable, but you could also be incentivizing them to spend less time in their car sitting in traffic. And it isn’t necessarily a gift per se, but by sharing per-mile insurance with your low-mileage friends and family you could help them save $500 a year! Learn more at metromile.com/insurance.

Tips for Making Holiday Travel Budget Friendly

There is a ton of car congestion building up during the holiday season, as evident in our Thanksgiving travel recap last week. Sometimes, it is better to fly to your destination rather than brave the heavily-trafficked roads. This can get quite expensive, which is why we turned to guest blogger Shereen Travels Cheap to give us some tips on how to save money during the typically overpriced holiday season.

The holidays are stressful enough, so why make things worse with your holiday travel? By planning ahead, you can save money and frustration. You’ll be genuinely happy to see your family and friends instead of resentful that you had to spend so much to get there.

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Fly early.
If you’re worried about getting bumped (who doesn’t?) choose a flight earlier in the day. The first flights out have much lower chance of being delayed, plus many people don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn to go to the airport, making those flights a bit cheaper.

Travel on less desirable days.
Booking your travel during the holiday season is not super affordable, but you can reduce the sting by flying on the least busy days to get the best deals. When demand is low, so are fares. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays tend to be less expensive than other days, because the majority of people travel over the weekend. The airport is always packed on Thursdays and Fridays with people getting out of town and then on Sundays and Mondays coming back.

Book as far in advance as possible.
Under normal circumstances, the sweet spot for getting deals on domestic flights is between three and five weeks, but for the holidays, you’ll want to book as soon as you find an airfare deal. The closer to the holiday you get, the higher the airfare will be. There are almost never any last-minute price drops for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

Bring just a carry-on.
Many airlines, especially budget airlines, have upped their baggage fees. Do you really want to pay an extra $40 or more to bring your luggage along? (more…)