What Are the Best Apps for Road Trips?

By Tire Agent Staff

April 06, 2022

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There was a time that driving across the country meant buying a physical map and carefully planning the most optimal route across hundreds of miles. Today, whether you’re going cross-country or just between cities, phone apps make road trips easier than ever. Whether you’re planning a big trip soon or just looking to make your morning commute a bit easier, here are some of the best apps for any and all road trips. 

Apps for Trip Planning

  • Roadtrippers (Free on IOS and Android, upgraded version available)

Roadtrippers is the trip planner app for traveling across the country. You create “waypoints” that represent interesting attractions or hotels, and then the app maps a path that links each point of interest together into a full road trip. Keep in mind that the free version of Roatrippers only lets you have 7 waypoints, while the paid Roadtrippers Plus ($29.99/year) version gives up to 150.     

The Tripadvisor app is a hub of user recommended hotels, restaurants, tours, and other travel experiences. The app lets you find the highest reviewed hotels and restaurants in the cities you plan to pass through during your trip. Trip Advisor comes recommended if you’re looking for crowdsourced data on the best value vacation services. 

Apps for Planning an Entire Vacation

  • TripIt (Free on IOS and Android, upgraded version available)

TripIt provides a travel itinerary hub for your vacation. You forward your reservation information to the app, and it sorts it out for easy access. During a road trip, TripIt will provide a map view with information on nearby restaurants and gas stations. The upgraded TripIt Pro ($48.99/year) is meant for frequent fliers, as it provides flight status and details about the airport you’re going through. 

Wanderlog helps with group travel, as you can invite friends and family to collaborate with an itinerary in real-time. You’ll be able to add stops along your road trip route that everyone in your group can get information and updates on. Any reservation information can also be forwarded into Wanderlog. 

Apps for Navigation

  • Waze (Free on IOS and Android)

Waze enhances the traditional electronics map experience by planning your trip around traffic, speed traps, construction, and other obstacles that may pop up. Waze plots the most optimal route for your trip and offers you new routes if more optimal paths are available. Waze can also help you find the cheapest gas points along your route, which is more important than ever. 

Google Maps is perhaps the most updated and detailed maps app available. You can share your location with others, plan a trip with others, and get recommendations on new restaurants that fit your interests. Google Maps is also applicable in day-to-day commuting, as it has features such as finding the most gas-efficient route and changing your commute if there’s traffic in the area. 

  • inRoute (Free on IOS, upgraded version available)

inRoute specializes in planning your route around weather, elevation, safety, and more. You can plan your route using inRoute’s tools and then export the plan to Google Maps, Waze, and other popular map apps. The monthly pro version ($4.99/month) allows you to create routes with up to 150 location points and can sync with other devices for group travel.

The Scenic Motorcycle Navigation app is designed for discovering and planning the most interesting and beautiful routes for your trip. You can choose between the local Scenic user routes and making your own brand-new route. Once you’ve got your plan, you can download it onto your Apple device and not worry about losing cell reception. The premium subscription will give you route import and export capabilities, as well as voice guidance for your route. 

Apps for Documenting Your Road Trip

Instagram is the most popular photo and video sharing social media app out there. While not entirely meant for road trips and vacations, Instagram allows you to geotag your photos with locations and share them with your friends. With hashtag capabilities, you can see all the other people who’ve visited the same spot as you. 

Polarsteps is a more personalized travel documentation app, as it tracks your progress on a map and allows you to share photos, videos, notes, and anything else with other explorers. You can see what other people are recommending and even get help planning a trip. Polarsteps also allows you to share your trip with the public or stay private – the choice is yours. 

Apps for Travel and Road Conditions

  • Drive Weather (Free on IOS and Android, upgraded version available)

While most navigation apps provide updated information on traffic and construction, Drive Weather has the unique capability of giving you the weather status and condition of the road along your route. The pro version ($9.99 a year) checks the 7-day forecast for your trip if you’re worried about hail, icy conditions, or any other weather-related factor. 

Apps for Winging It On a Road Trip

Other apps we’ve recommended will help you find recommended restaurants and points of interest along your route, but nothing can quite compare to Tripadvisor when it comes to finding nearby attractions on the fly. Tripadvisor finds things to do recommended by other users and compares prices across booking sites. If you find that one perfect spot, you can also submit a review and photo to guide others along the path. 

Entertainment Apps for Long Car Rides 

  • Spotify (Free on IOS and Android, Premium is available)

Whether it’s music or podcasts, Spotify has you covered. You’ll find almost any song on Spotify, and with the premium subscription ($9.99 a month) you can make your own driving playlists for a particular mood. Podcasts are also readily available for download and can be a fun choice for group listening. The premium subscription also allows you to download anything so that you can listen in between cell phone outages on the road. 

Road Trip Games digitalizes some classic road trip games like the license plate bingo and hangman. This app is designed to keep young children busy during those especially long car rides. 

This trivia game is a spoken charades game and is designed to be played during long road trips. The person with the phone is given a noun and has to help others guess the word by saying other nouns or phrases that relate to it. It’s an entirely verbal game that even the driver can take part in. 

Most Important Apps for Road Trips: Gas Apps

If you’re looking to compare fuel prices in an area you aren’t familiar with, look no further than GasBuddy. Not only can you see what the cheapest fuel options are in your immediate area, but you can look at the price map to see what the average gas price is for different regions of the U.S. Gas app also offers a gas card that will provide points back when you fuel up. 

Fuelio is designed to track your gas mileage, consumption and costs. You can also register your planned-out trip to see the projected cost once the app is familiar with your vehicle's gas mileage and fuel cost. If you’re looking to upgrade, the pro version removes ads and backs up your car data to the cloud. Perfect if you’re interested in road trip data!