With millions of apps, sometimes it can be hard to find the best performing ones for specific tasks . I’ve found that each of these apps come in handy during particular situations on a road trip. However, some of the apps I only use on an as needed basis. These apps shouldn’t be relied upon, but instead they can beused as tools to help make your roadtrip more enjoyable.
When looking for the best map apps, there are 3 factors I look for: accuracy, battery drainage, and data usage. I found the following three map apps to be the best. Pro tip: You save huge amounts of data when searching for routes on wifi rather than data. Maps use minimal amounts of data after the route has been downloaded.
Google maps, in my opinion is the best overall map app. The app is very detailed, accurate, and efficient. I recently made the switch from Apple Maps to Google Maps and couldn’t be happier. I’ve found the data usage and battery life to be about the same between the two apps but Google Maps is much more accurate, especially when visiting less frequented places outside of cities.
This is another map app worth having. This app is crowdsourced, and gets information about traffic, stops, hazards, etc. from it’s millions of users. I don’t use it as my go-to map app, but I use it occasionally in cities or when there is heavy traffic. Waze is the best for finding the quickest alternate route to dodge traffic. One of the main reasons I don’t use Waze as my main map app, is because I’ve found it drains battery life much faster than other map apps.
Map.me is great when traveling abroad, exploring a new city, or when you know you won’t have have access todata. The app allows you to download maps offline and then doesn’t rely on data. The app is accurate and user friendly, but in my opinion not as streamline as Google Maps. How frequently you use this app depends on how much information you’re willing to store on your phone; for instance downloading the whole U.S. map offline takes up 4 gigs of space. (Which actually is not very high)
Gas Buddy is another crowdsourced app designed for finding the cheapest nearby gas prices. I’ve been able to save over 25 cents a gallon on gas by checking the app. Sometimes I have to wait 15 to 20 miles down the road, but I’m always down to save some pennies.
Do you ever start getting hungry on your road trip, and pass blue sign after blue sign waiting for the most appetizing sounding restaurant to appear? Well no more! I recently discovered this app, and it’s a game changer. I wish I had it years ago! The app determines your current location and bearing, then gives a list of all the next exits and their distances along the route along with all of the gas, lodging, and resturaunts.
Taking a cross country road trip but don’t know what sights and attractions are along the way? Then you need this app. This app allows you to type in your destination, then select different categories like Outdoor sights, Top activities, etc. and it will show several different places you can stop along your journey. The app also shows nearby road trips and other popular road trips if you have lots of time to take a spontaneous adventure.
This app is great when road-tripping through cities. Generally parking in major Metropolitan areas is not free. So using this app will help you find the most affordable parking near you.
There are a wide range of apps available for lodging with varying amounts of quality, price, and privacy. Everyone has their favorite websites/apps for booking places to stay but these are my favorites:
AirBnB has recently become my goto app for finding affordable lodging. There’s a wide arrange of lodging available on the app, including: houses, apartments, boats, cabins, and even treehouses! Sometimes you can rent out a whole house, but generally airbnb is more for renting out a room in someones house. Pricing is set by the host, and will be more expensive in higher populated or tourist areas. I’ve had nothing but good experiences with AirBnb. So if you have an open mind and you’ve never used Air BnB, consider giving it a try!
There are several different websites I use for booking hotels but I find myself frequenting booking.com more than other sites. I tend to find that Booking has the cheapest prices and I also like that the website offers alternative lodging options such as Apartments, vacation houses, and hostels. Using Booking gives me a general overview of the types of lodging most available in new locations.
If I decide I want to go the hostel route, I use HostelWorld. HostelWorld is very user friendly and easy to search, book, and read reviews on various hostels in the area I’m visiting. I’ve also found HostelWorld to have the a larger quantity and more relevant reviews than other website such as TripAdvisor or Yelp.
Full Disclaimer: I haven’t had a chance to use this app yet but I want to visit Europe soon and I think this would be a great continent to try out this service. CouchSurfing is free housing with a local. I’ve heard a lot of great things about it, but since most of my travels have been with groups of friends, couchsurfing hasn’t worked out.
Road trips can put a lot of miles and wear and tear on your car. For long trips, renting a car is usually a pretty good idea depending on your budget. Turo is a fairly new service that is like Air Bnb, but for cars. You can rent people’s cars, and generally have to return them to the same spot. The prices tend to be cheaper than renting a car and there is usually a mileage cap set by the car owner (I’ve mostly seen 2,000 miles) which is perfect for medium sized road trips.
This app is a great as needed app when road-tripping internationally. The app is very simple and straightforward, just type in how much money you spent in a different country, and the app will spit back how much money you spent in your home currency with the most up to date rates.
Yelp & Trip Advisor
If you’ve never used the apps before, then you’ve been living in the dark. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Sometime you find the best new restaurants and attractions by just going in blind. I use both of these apps frequently when searching for reviews of new places.
I don’t know about you, but my road trips would be awful without any tunes. Get Spotify for a huge catalog of music! And while you’re on your epic trip, you can stream my latest album, “Swipe!”
Hopefully you haven’t heard of some of the apps and maybe they’ll be gamechangers for you while you’re out driving. If you use some apps that I didn’t mention and love , please let me know in the comments!