Living in a major urban area has a lot of upsides, but people aren’t kidding when they say it’s a jungle out there. Big cities come with their own unique problems, from public transportation to high food costs to trying to find a parking spot on a Saturday night out.
Thankfully, with advancing technology some of these problems have easy solutions. There are several apps you can download for free that will make living in the city a whole lot easier.
As someone who has to regularly park in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, I’m not sure how I’d get by without SpotHero. In addition to numerous street restrictions when it comes to parking your car, limited space and high property values mean you can find yourself paying $30-$40 a night to park in an open lot across from an otherwise seedy bar.
Not with SpotHero. SpotHero lets you log in and pick the time and place you’d like to park. It then shows you a map of the parking spaces in your area. Whether it’s a street spot or a private garage, you can book your space there in advance for less than you’d pay the day of. The company is willing to give you a discount so they can guarantee a spot will be taken, and you save both cash and stress. No more driving around the block four times for you.
There are a lot of navigational apps out there, but Waze is one of the most popular for a good reason. It offers customizable routes based on the number of stops you want, current traffic patterns and whether you’re open to toll roads and highways.
Have you ever started out on a road trip and suddenly realized you’ll need to fill your tank before you get to your destination? Tap the gas button and Waze will route you toward the nearest gas station.
Waze also has a communal reporting mechanism that takes the app to another level. If someone spots a road closure, pot hole, accident or cop hanging out in a speed trap, they can report it and provide details. All Waze drivers are instantly alerted. Talk about team work!
Known as Waze for grocery shopping, Basket is an essential app for anyone who lives equally far from three different grocery stores. It’s hard to remember which one sells milk for less or which store has better coupons this week.
You don’t have time to hit up every store in your area, so let Basket do the work for you. It combines weekly fliers, internet advertisements and user input to let you know which products are cheapest at which stores in your area based on the shopping list you enter. Then you can plan your trip, or trips, depending on how good those deals are.
Sometimes you don’t have access to a car. Maybe you’re visiting a foreign city, or maybe you don’t drive at all. You’ll need a robust public transportation app, and Citymapper is where it’s at. Not only will it give you a variety of routes combining all kinds of transportation options, it will tell you how much each route will cost in advance so you can plan appropriately.