It’s road trip season — that great time of year to hit the open road, with wind in your hair and your favorite playlist on rotate, cruising towards your destination. Road trips can be loads of fun, but there’s a lot of planning that goes into making sure your adventure goes off without a hitch. You have to pick the destination, layout the route, find hotels, figure out where the cheapest gas it, and, oh man, what about traffic?
Thankfully, your tech can help make life a little bit easier, so you can focus on having a lot more fun. Our tech experts came up with these 9 apps that are the perfect traveling companions for your road trip. All you have to do is remember to pack your phone or tablet!
Prep for your road trip
We’ve all been there – that moment of opening your suitcase and realizing that you forgot to pack one of your essentials. Say goodbye to forgotten items and hello to the ultimate packing guide: PackPoint. With this free app, you can organize your packing list and lessen the odds of reaching your destination without your much-needed items in tow. PackPoint provides guidance on what to pack based on your length of travel, weather at your destination, and any activities you’ve planned during your trip.
Let Google Trips be your digital travel agent. A free app for both Android and iOS, Google Trips is a great way to keep track of your trip’s reservations and confirmation numbers. It also offers up trip suggestions, so you can learn about cool things to see and do (and eat) near you. Most handy feature for road trippers: you can even bookmark some must-see locations and download offline maps to your device, in case you were to find yourself on a detour road where service is spotty.
Do you want to learn more about the interesting places you will pass on your route? Roadtrippers can help! This app recommends landmarks and activities along your planned drive – or stop-worthy detours. Trust us, stops at unusual roadside attractions like the World’s Only Corn Palace and Dinosaur Kingdom will create memories that you’ll be talking about for years to come.
Keep the road trip rollin’
Nothing ruins the road trip vibe quite like traffic. No more sitting bumper-to-bumper or dealing with slow rolls — Waze helps with all your navigation needs. In addition to directions, Waze offers real-time information from fellow travelers that will help to guide you around accidents and traffic jams.
What’s a road trip without music? Both Spotify and Pandora are free to download, but with a premium account you can create custom playlists to fit your mood and genre. If you don’t have time to make your own, both already have their own playlists ready to be listened to! Classic Road Trip Songs on Spotify is a popular one.
Discover the best pit stops
There’s nothing quite like settling for a mystery meat sandwich at the next gas station to stave off hunger, only to then spot your favorite burrito place just two exits later. iExit is the perfect tool for helping to avoid such moments of culinary disappointment. It offers suggestions for where you should stop based on your needs. Are you looking for a restaurant? A gas station? A place to get out and stretch your legs? iExit checks all these boxes and it’s free on Android and iOS devices.
Finding gas is always a gamble on long trips. Back home, you know all the good places to stop for the cheapest fuel like the back of your hand. But, on your trip you might be driving on an unfamiliar road or interstate – that’s where GasBuddy can help. It’s designed to identify the cheapest gas near you. You can even be as specific as asking for gas stations with additional services, like a restaurant, car wash, or bathroom.
Grab a bite and stay for awhile
Part of the fun of road trips is discovering new restaurants and trying local cuisine. TripAdvisor’s app helps you to find great food no matter where you are, with access to thousands of restaurant reviews and photos from fellow travelers.
After your long day, you’re likely tired and ready to find a spot to crash for the night. Start with HotelTonight. It’s a free app that offers heavily discounted room rates to those looking to book at the last minute. It’s the perfect tool for finding a quick spot to get some rest before it’s time to dive into the next step of your road trip adventure.
Tap into our expertise
Whether you’re in the captain’s chair planning the road trip or in the passenger seat, we’re here to help you discover the best tech for every moment of your life.