As of today I’m leaving on a west coast road trip
It’s gonna be a lot of driving, but we’re going up to Washington and then back down Highway 1 (aka the Pacific Coast Highway) through Washington, Oregon and California. Should be pretty rad. But it’s a lot of driving. So to make the road trip part of this trip a little easier and more enjoyable, I’ve put together a list of awesome apps for your next road trip.
I’ll def be using several of these over the next week. Let me know what you think and if you’ve tried any of ’em!
Just FYI I am an Apple affiliate so if you choose to buy something through the links I may get a commision, at no extra cost to you, of course. Just want to give you a heads up, thanks!
Planning your road trip
Use these apps to outline your awesome trip plan.
The Roadtrippers app is a must-have for planning and going on a road trip. You get to plan your route, then Roadtrippers will give you suggested stops on the way. You can choose which categories you want to see for suggestions – camping, nightlife, outdoors, ect. – and then click on the little info bubbles to learn more about each spot and add it to your trip. It’s a great way to outline your road trip plan before you even get on the road.
The TripCase app may not be geared towards road trippin’ (a good amount of the app is designed for flight organization) but it still has some awesome features that road trippers can use to plan and organize their travels. For instance, once you arrive somewhere, use TripCase to organize a visit to a sightseeing spot, then ask it to find food in that area, and what the weather will be like. It lets you save all the details so you can plan out your trip ahead of time, or at the last minute. It can also keep friends and family up to date on where you are, or if you’re flying, it’ll let them know if you’re flight is delayed. Pretty sweet, right?
Two apps that focus on helping you plan and pack all the essentials. There’s a lot to remember to pack on a road trip, maybe even more so than a flying trip, so these apps help sort out the mess. Separate items in categories, create new packing lists for different trips, add or delete items, copy to new lists. Each app has a slightly different setup, but they have one very important thing in common: They take the stress out of packing.
A simple, super-useful weather app. Know the weather you’re driving into ahead of time and on driving day.
Finding your way
Plan your road trip route, find the perfect stops along the way, and avoid getting lost!
Perhaps the most notorious of all road trip apps, Google Maps is a gift from the techie gods. You can set a destination and turn on the voice navigation that will tell you when you need to turn and how far you have until your next route change. It’s so unbelievably useful and makes driving in unfamiliar places a lot safer since you don’t have to look at a map while you’re driving.
This is the perfect app to use for the practical part of road trips, especially if you have a passenger to help you navigate. iExit lets you know exactly what amenities are available at the next and upcoming exits. You can search for places you want to stop at, like certain restaurants or Starrrrrbuuuuucks. Yes. So you’ll know exactly what exit you should take to get exactly what you need. Starbucks is a need, people. I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise.
Scout navigation and GPS is an app that’ll keep your family and friends in the loop while you’re traveling. You can tell it who can see your progress, so you family can see exactly where you are and when you’ll be arriving. For those with paranoid parents (*cough*dad*cough) this could help ease their worries.
World Travel Guide
This app is the answer to the one big issue with Google Maps. Data. Although Google Maps is super handy to have while driving, if you’re stopped in an unfamiliar city and don’t want to use your mobile data to see what’s around you, use this. It has massive maps for countries and cities, plus detailed guides that are all downloadable. So you don’t have to be online to see where to go.
Wanderu is for the road tripper that doesn’t have the option of driving their own car. Or maybe you just don’t like driving that much. You do you. Either way, this app will help. It lets you search through thousands of bus and trains schedules to find the best deals for your particular road trip. And it’s hella easy to use.
Stopping for good food
Don’t rely on gas station junk and fast food for your road trip. Use these apps to find food you’ll actually want to stop for.
TV Food Maps
For Food Network and Travel Channel nerds, this app will make your road trip. It shows you restaurants and eateries that have been features on popular tv shows and let’s you plan your road trip around them if you want. It’ll also let you filter restaurants by the tv show they were featured in so you can see your favorite spots first. If I had time, I’d probably plan a whole US road trip around this app. But alas, not today.
Find food based on what sounds good, not just the restaurant type. After a long day on the road maybe you’re looking for some really good chicken noodle soup, or a light fruity salad. This app is a great road trip companion because it lets you choose where to eat based on specific dishes. You can see photos of the food and reviews as you browse.
Food Tripping helps you clean up your road trip menu by suggesting some of the better foodie options wherever you are. It focuses on organic coffee stops, microbreweries, farmers markets, among others. All the junk food you can end up eating on a road trip is kinda gross. This app helps.
Spend less on gas
This is hands down one of the most useful road trip apps ever. It’s dedicated to helping you spend less on gas by showing you where the nearest gas stations are and which is the cheapest. I’ve used this app a lot on road trips and it’s awesome.
Where to sleep
Plans change, and the folks at Roomer know that. This app is especially handy to have during a road trip because there are times when you just can’t stand driving anymore, but if you’ve already made hotel reservations you could lose money. Roomer lets you put your already paid for hotel up for grabs so you don’t lose all your money. You can also use it to find cheaper hotel stays from someone else that can’t use their reservation.
If I could, I’d bring my dog literally everywhere. I hate leaving him home, but traveling with a pet can be difficult. Especially if he’s the size of a small moose like mine is. That’s why I call him “Zeus the moose.” If there is any time to bring a dog along, it’s a road trip. If your dog likes car rides, and you don’t have to worry about putting them on a plane, it could be awesome. This app helps with the logistics of traveling with your furry best friend. It’ll show you hotels and spots in your area that accept pets.
This site was started to help give people options beyond basic hotels. Using their app on the road gives you the opportunity to stay at people’s houses, in bedrooms or on a couch. The prices range from super cheap to normal-ish rates but with more charm and diversity than cookie-cutter hotel rooms.
If you’ve never tried staying in a hostel, I’d totally recommend it. Like Airbnb, hostels let you experience something totally different from the normal humdrum hotel rooms. Hostels often have themes, community space to hang out, kitchens for cooking, and social spaces to get to know the other travelers. There are hostels all over the world so you could definitely look into staying at one during a road trip, and this app will help you research and book the perfect hostel for your group.
I know I already mentioned Roadtrippers, but it also just fits so well in the Adventures category because it makes finding new stops on a road trip easy. So it’s here too.
Field Trip is a middle ground between Roadtrippers and Google Maps. It’ll show you points of interest based on your location as you get near them. It runs in the background on your phone so it won’t disrupt anything else you’re doing until you come to a spot it thinks you’ll like. You can change settings based on your interests, and how often you want to get notifications.
What makes it a great road trip app? There’s an audio option so that the notifications and little blurbs – like the history of an area – will be read out loud to you. So you never need to take your eyes off the road!
Another app that shows you cool places to stop, eat, and stay. This one has ratings and info from other users (Roadtrippers has some user reviews as well) including categories for the stops. Users can also take and upload photos from their experience. Gogobot also recommends hotels for you to stay at based on where you are, user ratings, and what you’re looking for. Even though it’s easy to see how this app could come in handy on a road trip, it’s also a pretty cool idea for checking out your local community to discover new places.
Entertainment on the road
Tune In Radio
You can spend a lot of time on the road during road trips (hurr durr Hannah, yah I know) with not much else to occupy your mind aside from the asphalt. When you’re tired of listening to your playlists, try this awesome radio app out. You can listen to real radio stations from all over the world, plus podcasts and audiobooks. There’s a free and paid plan.
If you ever want to switch from music to an free audiobook, you’ll want to download Overdrive. All you need to use this library of ebooks and audiobooks is a library card. Log in, pick your library, then search through thousands of audiobooks. You can download them so they don’t take up any data while playing and they won’t cut out when you’re service is out of range. Some books you can download immediately, others (usually the newer, more popular ones) you may need to place a hold on.
You’ll never hear me say a bad word about Spotify. I actually first bought the premium plan for a road trip so I could download playlists and not worry about dead spots. I’ve used it ever since and even wrote a post about several great Spotify playlists to listen to on a road trip.
Extra apps for your road trip
Thousands of downloadable maps at your disposal for when you’ve landed in a new city. Bike paths, subway lines, trails and more!
Audio guides for spots all over the world. Learn something new about each place you stop.
I’m in love with my DSLR, but this is a great app for road trips when you don’t have time to stop and set up a bunch of camera gear. It focuses on panoramic shots so you can take beautiful photos during a quick roadside stop and upload them right to Facebook.