I can remember a time when a good friend and I drove from Beaumont, TX to Kentwood, LA to visit Britney Spears house in person. We were 17, had transportation, and had printed maps from mapquest (Click here to see how it used to look). My, how some things have changed…
Now, I really won’t drive anywhere without using Waze.
A basic explanation of Waze is that it is one of the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation apps where you can “join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute.” (Waze) It is available for iOS, Android, and Windows platforms.
A better explanation is that it is a way to aggregate social reporting data and evolving map data to make sure you get where you need to go more efficiently and to share that drive with those you choose in an easy and safe way.
Globetrotter Travel Tip: Smart Globetrotters use Waze
TL;DR? Here’s an introduction to the free service
If you have an exact address this is a no brainer. Just enter it in and you are set. Maybe you only know some information, like, ‘theatre on 3rd st’ or ‘thai restaurant in Pleasantville’. By using the Waze search you can find where you need to be by not only using Waze’s engine, but also Foursquare, Yellow Pages, Google, and Yelp. You will find where your going, and maybe even places you didn’t know of for later adventures. I like that you can set both ‘Home’ and ‘Work’ so that no matter where you are you simply choose either location and Waze will find you the most efficient way there. I didn’t even realize but the other day I was leaving from the gym, and Waze asked me ‘Going Home?’ and, as I have left from this location and went directly home the few times prior, it learned that this was most likely where I was going. A little eerie, but very helpful! Waze learns!
One of the best benefits of Waze is that the reporting of changing road conditions, from say, construction or a car accident, can allow Waze to recalculate your route so you don’t have to be stuck in traffic listening to the sound of squeaky brakes. This information is available to you both before and during your drive. It changes as the conditions change. This is maybe the singlemost useful part of Waze. If there is a major blockage in your route, why add to it? This way you can travel smarter and not harder. It may be that you are not even driving. Globetrotter Travel Tip: Use Waze to keep taxi drivers honest. If a taxi driver knows that there is traffic, or might want to take you a different route, load up Waze and tell them exactly the route to take, as you’ll see below.
Feeling nervous about where or when a person is going to arrive? I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of the peace of mind Waze gives me. Oh, the melodrama…let me explain. Let’s say you have a loved one that is expecting you home, but there is a weather issue, or even a guest is on their way and you want to make sure dinner is ready as soon as they arrive? Waze can help. The person can simply share their drive with you. Jacquie and I did this the entire way across Canada when we were moving back to Ontario. Friends could pull us up on their app or even the internet via the Waze link we sent to their email. It gives those you trust your route and ETA. It’s very dynamic and helpful. The security is that only those you share the link with can view your drive.
The way that Waze is able to help others is because of the data you put into it. Maybe you see a car stopped on the side of the road, a giant pothole, or road construction. You can warn other Wazers… about the 5-0 (wink). Waze is also really helpful for asking you these questions. If you are travelling on a route at a quarter of the normal speed posted for that road, it will ask you if you are stuck in traffic.
Free, Fun, and Robust
What I like most about Waze is that it is free. It’s better than any other GPS device I have ever used, as it gives me live map data and also competitive gas prices like ‘Gas Buddy’ (Click here for the Globetrotter mention of this app, a more detailed review to come). I love being able to share my drive, add information to help other drivers, and really make your trip efficient regardless of who’s driving.
Yahoo Tech wrote a great article of some things that even I didn’t know about Waze. Elvis is alive and he’s taking me home? (Read here)
Do you use Waze? Trying it out? Let us know your experience in the comment section below!