Summer has finally arrived! You know what that means … it’s time for a good old fashioned road trip. Like many summer travelers, we too will be hitting the open road. Our destination? A 1400 mile national park adventure through Colorado and Utah. But more on that later.
Today is all about the travel apps I consider essential for our upcoming road trip. You too may want to consider these apps before embarking on your next open road adventure.
So without further adieu, here are my 12 Essential Road Trip Apps I will be hitting the road with this summer. Note: Most apps are free. If not free, I have noted the app purchase price.
Roadtrippers – Maps Built For Travelers
Plan, navigate, and discover your next road trip with this ultimate road tripping app. From which roads to travel, to adventures and diners along the way, to hotel suggestions once there, Roadtrippers gets you from Point A to Point Z, and every point in between, including activities to keep everyone having a blast.
Why I like Roadtrippers: With over a million points of interest, I am are sure to find something nearby with this handy app.
Google Maps – Road Trips Around the World
Whether your adventure is by car or on foot, Google Map’s voice-enabled, turn-by-turn directions will get you to your destination. It’s easy to switch from navigation by vehicle to navigation by pedestrian. Traveling by local bus? Google Maps has that too! Who needs a separate GPS device when you have a smart phone? Google Maps is great for determining which roads to drive as well as on-the-go directional needs.
Why I like Google Maps: I plan my drive path at home, then load it into my mobile device. Once loaded, I have voice-enabled, turn-by-turn directions to get me to my destination.
HERE – For Offline Navigational Needs
Plan that epic journey before you hit the road. Then save your navigation map on a mobile device and you are good to go, even if the adventure takes you off-road and offline. HERE offers worldwide voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation, maps you can save and use offline for more than 100 countries, and even real-time traffic updates for more than 40 countries.
Why I like HERE 360: Because sometimes I need offline navigation. Maybe I’m in an area with inadequate signal. Or maybe I don’t want to use data.
WAZE – Real-Time Advice From Other Drivers
Have WAZE, avoid traffic jams. It’s that simple. With WAZE, receive traffic alerts before you hit that miles-long traffic jam, drive past that speed trap beneath the bridge, or encounter that road blocking hazard. This interactive, community-based traffic and navigation app provides real-time updates on traffic jams, accidents, police traps, and other road hazards that could affect your drive. It might just be your best road trip companion!
WAZE is available for Apple, Android and Windows devices.
Why I like Waze: WAZE keeps me on top of the traffic when navigating around cities prone to congestion. And I hate getting stuck in traffic jams. Don’t you?
GasBuddy – Find Gas Prices On-The-Go
Are you road tripping in a gas-powered vehicle? Then Gas Buddy is a must have! With search options by city, state, or zip code, Gas Buddy finds the best gas price no matter where you are, or where you plan to be. Search real-time gas prices where you are right now, or search gas prices for where you plan to be in 100 miles. And once you find that optimal gas station, Gas Buddy navigates you right to the gas pump.
GasBuddy is available for Apple, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry devices.
Why I like it: GasBuddy not only tells me who has the lowest gas prices, it also tells me where those gas stations are. Perfect for when you don’t know the area.
TripIt – Keep Reservations Organized
Keep your road trip logistics in order with TripIt. This trip planning powerhouse enables you to easily organize, store, access and share vital trip details like flight information, member loyalty numbers, hotel and car rental confirmations, even pre-booked events and activities. Tripit then goes the distance by taking all those emailed confirmations and creates a customized, day-by-day travel itinerary.
Why I like it: TripIt keeps all my reservations and plans in one easy-to-access location. No more dragging around a pile of papers with me.
Along The Way – Find Fun Stuff On The Road
In need of a coffee or restroom break? The kids getting antsy? Along the Way is here to save the day! Along The Way finds the nearest food, coffee, park, shopping mall, and more based upon your driving route, whether you need it now, or 30 minutes from now. Along The Way works practically any where in the world where that epic road trip journey might take you.
Along The Way is $2.99 – a small price to pay for a plethora of road-side information!
Why I like it: Along The Way helps me find fun stuff to do when road tripping in unfamiliar destinations, and we need a change in plan.
Roadside America – Find More Roadside Fun
Roadside America is the app for finding the odd, unusual, quirky, and unique roadside attractions. Roadside America’s searchable, mappable listings put a plethora of roadside attractions like natural wonders, the odd, offbeat and quirky, right at your fingertips. Use the Near Me feature to find a roadside detour, or to break up a monotonous drive.
Roadside America is $2.99 – a bargain for this treasure trove of fun waiting to be discovered.
Why I like it: Because exploring the quirky is so much fun! We’ve found places we might have otherwise missed if not for Roadside America.
Oh, Ranger! Find Me A Park to Explore!
Enjoy the great outdoors? Then Oh, Ranger! is a must for your open road travels! Oh Ranger’s comprehensive database of every United States federal and state park ensures that you will find the outdoor action where ever the drive takes you. Whether it’s bird watching in Biloxi, or wildlife watching in Wyoming, Oh Ranger is here to find a park for you. Think of it as your virtual guide to the great outdoors!
Why I like it: My family loves hiking, biking, and all sorts of outdoor activity. Oh, Ranger helps us find new parks in unfamiliar destinations.
Spotify – Music For Driving Long Hours
Spotify’s seemingly limitless music selection, combined with offline streaming, means you’ll have access to thousands of albums and artists no matter where you are, nor any data limitations on your mobile device. The app offers free internet radio streaming. Want more? Subscribe and have access to the complete Spotify album collection as well as offline access to your playlists.
Spotify is available for Apple, Android and Windows devices as a free or Premium service.
Why I like it: Spotify‘s offline features mean I can stream whenever, where ever I am. Because sometimes that local radio station just isn’t my style.
Key Ring – Loyalty & Club Cards Anywhere
Key Ring digitally stores club, loyalty, and other reward program cards on your mobile device, eliminating the need to drag along a ton of plastic cards. And Key Ring can help save money on the road by keeping you up-to-date with the latest coupons and discounts for your scanned cards. Sweet! Never leave home again without all your loyalty and club cards!
Why I like it: Key Ring enables me to travel with all my loyalty and club cards, as well as keeps me informed of the latest coupons and discounts for my scanned cards.
Repair Pal – For Unexpected Car Glitches
Hopefully this is one app you will never use! But if your car breaks down, runs out of gas, battery dies, or has a flat tire, Repair Pal can help get you back on the road. Get road-side assistance when you need a tow or tire repair. Find the nearest repair shop and make informed repair decisions when you need more than a tank of gas or battery jump.
Why I like it: Because flat tires happen along long lonely stretches of open road, and I want to be prepared!
Where Will The Open Road Take You?
Whether you plan to meander the roads ahead, or drive directly to your destination, a twist of modern day tech can keep that trip running smoothly. This is our summer for a family road trip, and these are the apps I have on my own mobile device, ready and waiting.
How about you? Do you enjoy road tripping? Where’s the open road taking you next? And what travel apps do you find indispensable when out on the open road? Do share!
App images from each respective App’s website. Valley of Fire image by C.Biederman.