Can’t you feel that excitement in the air? Spring break and summer vacations are calling your name! We’re sure you’re planning a fun getaway, so if your plans include road trips to Disneyland or the world’s largest teapot (yes, it’s actually a thing), we compiled a list of the top apps you’ll need on the highway.
Two of the best things about road trips are the freedom and flexibility to travel anywhere possible. If you want to visit the Rocky Mountains or Myrtle Beach, you can absolutely do that. But, it’s also best to be prepared for the unexpected. It’s best to be ready for anything – delays, unplanned stops, car maintenance, and everything in-between.
So buckle up and look at the list of apps you’ll need for the road trip ahead!
Google Maps – Android & iOS
Who else remembers the old days when you had to use paper maps? OR when you had to print directions out from MapQuest? We’re so glad technology has skyrocketed since then, but Google Maps is probably the most popular and most well-known app for traveling. We love this GPS app because it gives you real-time updates about directions, traffic, and ETAs. When road closures or accidents occur, this app reroutes you to your destination and saves you time. If you also want to get a cup of coffee or visit local places in the areas you’re passing through, you can quickly look it up. Get directions to your favorite restaurants, museums, bars, grocery stores, and many other places. If you need to get your vehicle checked, you just need to look it up! It’s pretty much the ultimate navigation app!
Gas Buddy – Android & iOS
There’s no road trip without gas. And when planning a road trip, Gas Buddy is your best friend on the road – well, besides your passenger. So don’t ever get stuck on empty by checking this app every time you fuel up to determine and estimate the next gas station you can fill up at. The best thing about this app? Information! Search all the nearby gas stations where you can see the best prices, saving you money on gas, including regular, premium, midrange, and diesel. Look at the lowest gas prices and decide which gas stations you plan to stop at. Other drivers on the road also update prices so you can trust that it’s the most current and up-to-date information.
Inrix ParkMe – Android & iOS
Parking can be a bummer, mainly if your road trips include stopping in downtown cities. Per their website, there are 29 million spaces in 84,000 lots across over 3,200 cities in 64 countries, so while you’re in a restaurant, museum, or event, use Inrix ParkMe to find the perfect spot to keep your vehicle on road trips. You can find parking ahead of time and availability, so you’re not driving around looking for a spot and wasting gas. Easily find pricing, hours, and other information that you’ll need to know, especially in those busy tourist months.
Iexit – Android & iOS
When you’re on the freeway or planning out your stops for the day, use iExit Interstate Exit Guide. Find restrooms, gas, hotels, hospitals, and many other things. If you’re the driver, your passenger and road trip pal can click on this app and easily find the nearest exit to your destination.
Waze – Android & iOS
“Traffic” is probably one of the worst words you want to hear on road trips. But that’s why Waze is a great app. Avoid traffic jams, street closures, construction, and many other live updates that will help you navigate to get from point A to point B – literally! It’s a community like GasBuddy where other users can update anything on the app, like police or HOV lanes. You can also lookup the nearest gas stations and parking!
Music & Podcast apps: Spotify – Android & iOS
Look – when you’re driving for hours, you need a little entertainment. Obviously, movies and YouTube are out of the question, but the next best thing is music or podcasts. Enter: Spotify. There are other streaming apps, but at the moment, Spotify is ranked the #1 Top Free in Music & Audio from the Google Play Store and the #1 Top Free iPad Apps from the Apple App Store. So, whether you like listening to top hits or your favorite podcast show, Spotify has everything you need. Listen for free or use your subscription for more content. You can even download music or podcasts when you lose signal, which is bound to happen on road trips.
Hotel Tonight – Android & iOS
We all love to save money, especially when it comes to hotels. The Hotel Tonight app gives you the best prices on places to crash for the night. The best thing about road trips is the unexpected, but we just need room to recoup and revive some days. This app is perfect for finding amazing same-day deals and great prices, so if you’re planning to stop day-by-day, this app is ideal for your plans. If you’re looking for something basic or luxurious to get a good night’s rest, you’re definitely bound to find and book the perfect hotel – in no time!
AirBnb – Android & iOS
Hotels are great, but if you’re looking for something more private or reserved, AirBnb is the better option for you or your family. Find homes where you can feel like you’re at home – cook and come and go as you please without a worry. Easily find locations that fit your budget and the timeframe of your road trip. Book ahead of time to reserve the best spots or check the app on the day of.
Dyrt – Android & iOS
The GREAT outdoors! If you really want to immerse yourself in nature and experience all that the environment has to offer, then Dyrt is the app for you. Get the “dyrt” on all the best locations to set up camp and sleep under the stars. This app lets you get the best insights, news, and reviews about the campgrounds. Hear other campers’ opinions and plan exactly where to stop for a night or two. Tents, RVs, or cabins, find what locations accept what and look through the amenities listed to find the spot for you. It lists the contact information to contact the site for additional questions. You can also plan and export everything to Google Maps, so that’s a welcome bonus for sure!
Roadtrippers – Android & iOS
Perfect for the wanderlust, Roadtrippers is the ultimate app if you want to visit roadside attractions and hidden gems you can’t find anywhere else. I mean, you could, but this app lists everything from your starting point to your destination. Find cool places to explore off the beaten path and the best routes to take. Robert Frost said, “I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference,” so open a world of new experiences that are explored less often.
The Weather Channel – Android & iOS
Mother Nature is so powerful and unexpected that she can even delay your trips. But, stay up-to-date on the latest forecasts with The Weather ChannelApp! It’s so helpful to know the weather updates on the road, especially in regions you’re not familiar with. Someone from Florida might be used to Montana weather, you know? So use this app to get daily, weekly, and even hourly updates.
NPS App – Android & iOS
Does your road trip include stops at the country’s best national parks? We got you. With over 400 parks across the country, plan out every stop you will make with the incredible National Park Service App. Immerse yourself in nature and into some of the country’s most beloved sceneries. This app has some amazing features to help you plan your trip, including interactive maps, news, tours, accessibility, and even offline use, so you know where you’re exploring. From Mount Rainier to the Boston Harbor Islands, you’ll know what to expect, what to bring, and what to do!
The main list above targets newlyweds and couples embarking on their own adventures, but we also put together a mini-list of apps for families with young children. Because once the exciting feeling of traveling somewhere new fades, they’re going to get bored. And grumpy. So here’s a small list to keep your little ones occupied while you drive onward.
Sago Mini Road Trip Adventure – Android & iOS
Little ones love being interactive, so this amazing app will keep little ones occupied on the road. They’ll help Jinja the Cat on a road trip adventure, from picking the vehicle to exploring the fun interactive world. You don’t have to worry about Wi-fi or anything like that, which is the best part!
Trivia Crack – Android & iOS
The best thing about a road trip has the family all together (or the worst thing, depending on everyone’s mood), but in this case, we think you can make the trip more family-oriented and fun with Trivia Crack. Create teams, parents versus kids, and see who wins! There are many categories, including history and sports, so you’ll all be entertained for a few hours. If you want to unlock new features and content, there are also in-app purchases.
Stack the States – Android & iOS
Another fun game app for everyone to enjoy is Stack the States. This is more educational but still fun for everyone to learn something new about the states they’ll be passing through.
Disney+ – Android &iOS
We want to thank Disney for releasing this app because it’s definitely a life preserver for parents. With this app, you can stream the best movies for little ones of all ages (and angsty teens) on road trips because they will hardly ever be bored. The best thing about the app? Movies and shows can be downloaded! You do need a subscription, but we’re guessing you’ve probably subscribed already if you have little ones.
Disney Coloring World – Android & iOS
When little ones get bored of crayons and coloring books (which they do, trust us), Disney Coloring World is an excellent backup for them to use. Easily download this app on phones and tablets so they can be creative in the vehicle without the mess. Let them color their favorite characters and create a fun magical picture. They also have the chance to unlock new features, meaning they’ll be distracted and more focused on coloring. You have to subscribe, but it would be worth it for a pain-free road trip.