I travelled Route 66 in the summer of 2018. Back then, and as a result of the official decommissioning of the old motorway from US maps (sometime in 1985), no navigation app was available to guide you through the Mother Road.
BEFORE: Paper Maps and more
On our Route 66 adventure, just like everyone else, we had to pretty much depend on the EZ66 Guide. For many years this guidebook, supplemented with various paper maps, served as the Bible for travellers on Route 66!
Cost-wise, your best shot is the packaged set of eight paper maps, one for each Route 66 state. You can buy them online (anywhere on Amazon for around 13 USD). The EZ66 Guide will cost you another 26 USD.
On each page of the EZ66 Guide you get a different section of the Mother Road. There is a turn by turn description, including zoomed maps and points of interest that worth your visit. The work behind this Guide is truly exceptional, however, we did not find it as easy as some people may think. Unlike narrated navigation, reading the instructions requires your parallel attention on both the map and the street itself. Overall this makes the experience way more stressful and not as enjoyable as every road trip owes to be!
Take a look at the picture below for a navigation example from the EZ66 Guide:
TODAY: Turn-by-Turn Navigation
But let’s now get to the good news! A bit later in 2018, a developer team from Slovakia brought into life the first Route 66 Navigation App! To start with, let’s give the team a big hurray and an even bigger thumbs-up!
Those of you who have already travelled the route, you can instantly understand the great added value this application brings in. Those of you who are planning (or dreaming) to travel the route, you can rest assured that you will now be able to enjoy an uncomplicated and stress-free experience!
Reviewing the Route 66 Navigation App
The Route 66 Navigation App can be easily installed on any IOS or Android mobile. Even if the navigation itself comes at a fee, some of its features are offered free of charge. Namely:
- The start-to-end POI (point of interest) list, which gives you detailed information on all attractions that can be found along Route 66.
- A yearly calendar of events taking place in close proximity to Route 66.
- The app also allows its users to create alerts and exchange tips with fellow travellers on road hazards, traffic jams, accidents, speed cameras, etc.
- An S.O.S. functionality that facilitates emergency calls in the unlike event you need some kind of help.
- A detailed Route 66 Guide on how to organize your own trip from scratch. The guide is quite exhaustive, including indicative costs and valuable tips from experienced travellers of Mother Road.
Activating the navigation functionality comes at a cost, with two available options to choose from:
- An annual license that will cost you 39.99 USD
- A weekly license that will cost you 19.99 USD
With such a license in hand, you will get the following additional services:
- A voice navigation for the driver’s ease of use, and most importantly for those traveling alone.
- Notification alerts whenever you approach a Route 66 POI and/or whenever you exceed the speed limit.
- Offline use of the maps to avoid connectivity issues and/or extra carrier charges.
- Navigation option for traveling in both directions, westbound and eastbound.
- Two predefined routes covering the most important sections of Route 66; the classic route and a less popular one.
- The possibility to create your own customized itinerary, save and activate it on the go.
Is the Application Trustworthy?
Absolutely! Over the course of the past 2 years, the application has significantly improved its functionality in an effort to be as reliable and comprehensive as possible. And as an extra vote of confidence, the information provided is constantly reviewed and refreshed. In this way, users are always kept up to date when it comes to both road/traffic conditions, as well as newly identified points of interest.
Does it Worth it?
Absolutely! I really cannot think how, why, and for how long people would continue traveling on Route 66 without a navigator! The cost of the annual license is nearly the same with the cost of the EZ66 Guide plus the paper maps, yet requiring less to zero effort on your end in tracing the route.