Whether you’re striking out on a day trip or making a cross-country trek, one of the keys to a successful road trip is being prepared. So in addition to checking your emergency bag, stocking up on snacks, and curating your playlist of road-ready tunes, make sure your phone has the latest apps to keep you organized, informed, and entertained you as you make your journey.
Want to know which restaurants and services you’ll find at the next exit? Yes, there’s an app for that! How about planning your route to avoid traffic jams? Yup, there’s an app for that as well. Here's a baker’s dozen of the most popular driving/road trip apps. Best of all, they’re free!
Of course, before you head out, first check to make sure there aren’t any road construction or other travel restrictions affecting your route and destination.
- Roadtrippers The #1 app for planning and enjoying your road trip adventure, and for good reason. Colorful icons display popular points of interest along suggested routes, with turn-by-turn navigation to lead the way.
- Waze This app is super useful for both commuters and vacationers, allowing drivers to steer clear of traffic tie-ups. Its community of users provides up-to-the-second information about traffic, accidents, speed limits and police warnings.
- Drive Weather This app was designed to help road travelers avoid the worst weather conditions, providing radar views and optimal routes from one point to another with icons to alert you to foul-weather conditions.
- GasBuddy Continues as the top-rated app to find the gas you need and then filters your results by brand, location, and price, as well as features like restrooms, restaurants, and car washes. It's billed as "the world's largest community-based fuel app," with 900 million searches worldwide.
- PlugShare Electric car owners, this one’s for you! This app provides an interactive map of the 40,000+ charging stations across the U.S. and will even tell you if the charging station you’re heading towards is out of available space!
- HotelTonight Use this hugely popular app to search for last-minute hotel deals while you're on the road or still at home (you can search as early as a week ahead). Hotels want heads in beds, so they're willing to slash rates rather than leave a room empty.
- RV Parks and Campgrounds This camping app helps you locate prime RV parks, and campgrounds, with over 40,000 listings in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. You can even view the database without an internet connection.
- iExit A must-download for interstate driving, this app will tell you what you'll find at each upcoming exit — restaurants, gas stations, hotels — so you can plan your pit stops, rather than wing it.
- Flush Toilet Finder Because sometimes you need to find one, fast. Useful on the road as well as when you reach your destination, this app quickly pinpoints any public bathroom in your vicinity, with more than 190,000 restrooms in its database.
- Drive Recorder This app turns your phone into a dash cam so you can record what’s happening on the road while you’re driving, then choose which videos to keep or edit, with back-up to Drive or YouTube. In the event of an accident, a dash cam video might provide evidence to support your insurance claim.
- All Trails When you’re ready to stretch your legs, this is a great app for finding day hikes on the fly or in advance of your road trip. It includes difficulty level, mileage, elevation, and tons of helpful reviews.
- SongPop2 Can’t take another round of I Spy? This app plays a short section of a popular song (you choose the genre/decade) and you guess the title or the artist from multiple choice answers.
- RepairPal If your car has issues while you’re in an unfamiliar location, you just plug in the make of your car and the problem (or your best guess), and the app provides you with area mechanics and an estimate for repair.