September 1, 2010

Traveling Labor Day Weekend? 6 Tips to Help Avoid Traffic

If you are traveling at all this long weekend, you will probably hit some traffic. With a little work, you can either plan ahead and know what you are getting into, or see the traffic situation and plan to route around it. It's not hard, here are a couple of tips to make traveling a little easier.

1. Check out conditions at Beat the Traffic in most major metro areas. They use Inrix data for some pretty detailed accounts of roadway slowdowns. You can elect to sign up for a two week free trial for their service that will allow you to plan your regularly used routes and get updates. They also have an iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and "mobile" set of solutions to help you while you are on the road.

2. Use Traffic.com's solution to plan a route and see what the traffic conditions are before you leave. they can recommend alternates for you to consider that will make the trip faster. Type in your starting and ending addresses for turn by turn directions. At Traffic.com - It's free.

3. Download the Inrix App for iPhone or Android where you can see traffic around you while on the road. I use this in combination with a GPS to get me around the worst spots: See trouble, pan the Inrix Map to see the last exit before the congestion, use the GPS to find my way around the issue to pop back on teh highway after the back-up. (Co-pilot recommended)

4. Get a traffic Enabled iPhone Navigation App - they are not that expensive and then you add on traffic as an option. Two I like are the TomTom (iTunes Link) and Navigon. TomTom US costs $49, and has an in App Traffic subscription for $20. Navigon has a Regional option (MyRegion) for only $29 and an annual traffic subscription (in App Purchase) for $20 also. Both give you traffic in and around major metro areas. I like having an iPhone navigation app because it's with me all of the time. These Apps download the maps so they don't need connectivity for navigation but do for traffic updates.

5. Buy a traffic enabled GPS - there are a ton out there, but two that are worth checking out are the TomTom XL 335TM (widescreen, text to speech, lifetime free map updates and traffic alerts - $129 right now), and the brand new Garmin Nuvi 3790T (super slim new design, landscape or portrait views, multi-touch display with advanced features and free traffic updates). Again these traffic updates are for most major metro areas and download over the FM band, so they are a little less detailed, but cover major roadways.

UPDATE: THURSDAY ONLY - Amazon Deal of the Day: TomTom XL 335T for $119 - Lifetime Traffic updates, but not lifetime map updates.

6. Leave in the middle of the night - way less fun; I recommend one of the other options.

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Posted by Scott Martin at September 1, 2010 10:05 AM

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