POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jan 12, 2014
» What it does: Identifies your location and points you, exit by exit, toward gas stations, hotels, shops, camping, restaurants, pharmacies, coffee and more. You could even find popular hot spots for sushi, tacos and desserts, and it can handle unusual requests such as hot dogs or bagels or even finding government services.
» Cost: Free
» Available for: iOS and Android devices
» What's hot: There are plenty of other apps out there that show you what services are at the next exit, but I found this app to be more streamlined. It was visually easy to use while in the car (as a passenger — don't use it if you're the driver unless you're stopped) and can quickly toggle between a visually branded view with distance (example: Chevron gas station in 0.9 miles) and the next screen with a map, directions, share features, prices, reviews and more. The hotel choices felt solid because Road Ninja is partnered with Hotels.com and has access to 20,000 exclusive mobile hotel deals daily.
» What's not: Sometimes the results were a little slow to generate when I was on the freeway, but not every time. I was testing on an iPhone 4S with AT&T service. It was always faster on Wi-Fi.
» Worth it: Yes. But I highly recommend spending a little bit of time with it before you head out on your road trip so you can customize your favorites and make sure you will be seeing the amenities you really want. Who wants to waste time — especially on a trip?
--Jay Leo / Los Angeles Times