With road trip travel apps available for your iPhone or Android, road tripping has never been easier to plan. Looking for the nearest coffee shop in the city you are driving through? There’s an app for that. Are there any upcoming speed traps along the highway? Yep, there’s an app for that, too. And what’s the weather going to be like once you get there? You get the picture. From deciding on the very best travel routes to booking the closest hotel rooms to searching for the cheapest gas nearby, road trip travel apps for your smart phone or tablet make it easier than ever to plan a successful road trip. The following list includes our very favorite essential road trip travel apps that for us, have made road tripping much less complicated and a whole lot more fun. And best of all, they are all free! Check them out to make the best of your next road trip.
Essential Road Trip Travel Apps:
With real time input from other wazers about traffic levels, accidents and road closures, Waze is my very favorite navigation app. Taking into account the variables of any given route, Waze determines the fastest way to get to your destination based on information that other users provide such as construction, speed traps and other hazards. Alerts pop up on the map when a hazard is coming up so that you can be aware of any upcoming issues. And if a traffic jam does occur, Waze automatically reroutes you to the next fastest way to your destination. Waze can also navigate you to the cheapest nearby gas station, which is a nice bonus.
TripIt (free basic level, upgrade available for a fee)
No more piles of disorganized paper confirmation information, TripIt allows users to keep all kinds of itinerary information organized and synced with their calendars so that a master itinerary can be developed. Travel documents can be saved in one place and shared with other users as well. This app is especially awesome when traveling to destinations for which a high number of reservations have been made, such as New York City or Disney World. So show tickets, hotel and restaurant reservations and travel plans can all be stored in one convenient place.
Cricket Free Wi-fi Finder (free)
Traveling can cause you to drastically increase wireless data usage and leads to hefty overage fees. Cricket Free Wi-fi finder is a very basic but free app that simply pinpoints the nearby free and open wi-fi hotspots so that you can enjoy unlimited wireless access and save your high speed data. And that eliminates lots of fights in this household!
Around Me (free)
Have you ever been driving down the highway in an unfamiliar area with a crowd of hungry people looking for the nearest restaurant? Or maybe needing some cash so looking for the nearest bank or ATM? I sure have! Around Me solves this common problem and allows you to search for various types of establishments in your vicinity. From hospitals to movie theaters and so on, this App can find the closest location. And one you’ve decided where you need to go, the map feature helps get you there. Easy peasy!
Trip Advisor (free)
The ultimate travel review site, Trip Advisor has reviews, pictures and travel tips for just about every city, hotel, restaurant and attraction around so that you can plan the very best possible itinerary for your destination. You can look up destinations you are thinking about to see if they are being enjoyed by others. And if you aren’t sure about what you want to see at a given destination, Trip Advisor shows you a list of top rated attractions in each city as well as highest rated hotels and restaurants so you can use it to plan a trip as well. While I aways read reviews with a grain of salt, it is nice to learn tips and see pictures from people who have actually been to the destination I am thinking about visiting.
These hotel booking sites can locate reduced rate accommodations in locations throughout the country. I usually check all three to find the best deal for the location I am headed, and we have saved some serious cash on hotel rooms. If you can be flexible about where you will stay in a given town or city, this is a great way to save money while traveling. And while we’ve stayed in a couple of “interesting” places due to these sites, we have been happy with our hotel the vast majority of the time.
If wanting to stay in a vacation rental instead of a hotel, Airbnb is where you want to look. Booking is convenient and easy and available reviews let you make educated decisions about where you choose to stay. This app lets you find a place, read reviews and book your rental right from your phone. I used this on a recent trip to New York City, and I definitely plan to use it for future traveling.
Gasbuddy is an awesome little app that searches for the cheapest gas in whichever city you enter in its search engine. And who doesn’t like to save money on gas? Another nice feature is the Trip Cost Calculator that helps when you are figuring out your fuel budget for an upcoming road trips. Gas Prices vary widely across the nation. So if I’m planning a cross country road trip and gas is going to be a large item in my budget, I can browse the cost of it in towns and cities across the U.S. to determine an accurate figure for my gas budget.