It’s time again to celebrate the birth of America with barbecues, road trips, and colorful explosions in the sky (and maybe an adult beverage or two). According to AAA, 41.9 million Americans will be making a trip of some kind for the holiday weekend, and the U.S. Travel Association says they’ll spend a combined $15.8 billion doing so. The estimated amount of travelers is the highest since 2007, and they’re projected to inject 1.7 percent more cash into the economy than last year’s total.

With fourth of July falling on a Saturday, more people are getting out on getaways or having backyard barbecues with friends and family, so local and freeway traffic is expected to be extremely high. Here are some smartphone apps that can help you survive the drive and enjoy the festivities even more when you reach your destination. (All apps are free and available at the iTunes Store and Google Play store unless otherwise noted.)

Find Your Way

Waze AppWaze is the de facto standard among community-based navigation apps. Traffic information is crowdsourced from Waze users (called Wazers), and the app uses it to give you time- and money-saving route suggestions so you can bypass the holiday logjam on the freeway or find a way around an accident that’s causing delays. Waze also gives you a heads-up if there’s a speed trap ahead or a hazard on the road. Plus, find the cheapest (or closest) gas station while you’re traveling for the holiday.


Clean Bathrooms

Sit or SquatRoad trips often involve bathroom stops, and Sit or Squat by Charmin can save your senses. The app searches public restrooms near your location that have been rated by users. A “sit” rating means it’s a bathroom clean enough to feel comfortable siting down in. A “squat” rating means it could use a good cleaning, so you might want to try another spot.


Light up the Grill

Light Up Your GrillFor those hosting or heading to a backyard barbecue, make your meat sing with Weber’s On the Grill. The $4.99 app includes more than 300 recipes for meats on the grill—and additional recipes for rubs, marinades and BBQ sauces.


Go Boom

Musical FireworksNeed a pre-dusk fireworks fix to set the mood or kill time in the car on the way to the celebration? Create your own fireworks show—set to music on your iPhone—with Musical Fireworks 2 for iOS. Just play a song and tap to the beat. Every tap creates a colorful explosion, so you can synch your fireworks to the music or tap everywhere and fill your screen with as many fireworks as possible. In-app purchases allow you to render the fireworks show in 3D and record your show.


Trivia Buff

fourth of julyLearn a bit about the history behind July 4th with a fun trivia game centering on the history, people, events and more surrounding Independence Day. July 4th Fun, Facts & Trivia for iOS covers everything from the first July 4th celebrations to modern-day facts. This can be a great way to kill time in traffic (as long as the driver isn’t the one handling the phone).

However you’re celebrating, have a fun, safe holiday!

And for more Apps and Technology, check out our Technology Section.

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