If you are heading out on the road for the holidays I’ve got 10 apps that are sure to be road warrior approved. Some will help you, some will guide you, and some will just make your ride more entertaining. All of these are available in iOS or Android, so just click on the title and download away.
This is pretty straightforward, but you cannot make a road trip without navigation. Google Maps is hands down my favorite GPS option. It’s always much more accurate than Apple Maps or any GPS system in my car. You can also save locations from your Google account on your desktop, so you are prepared before getting behind the wheel. In addition to Google, however, I’d be sure to have an old-fashioned hard copy map as well. You never know when you’ll be in an area with poor cell service or your phone battery unexpectedly dies.
Purchasing Spotify Premium was one of the best investments I’ve made. I can listen to music on demand in my car and even sync my playlists to my phone, so I can listen when offline. There are also some great pre-made road trip playlists. (Shhh – the first 30 days of Premium is free, so time it with your trip if you’re a penny pincher)
Field Trip points out just what the name says – any stop on your route that warrants a field trip. Historic sites, theme parks, stadiums – you name it! It runs in the background while you travel, so if you pass by something interesting, it will notify you. You won’t miss any must-sees along the way. I wish I had this during my trip from California to St. Louis!
When I lived in LA, Gas Buddy was a lifesaver. It lets you compare gas prices at stations nearby, ensuring you’re not stuck spending heaps of money at the pump just because you’re unfamiliar with the area.
Like Field Trip, Roadtrippers ensures you don’t miss any points of interest along your route. It’s extremely robust, and you can map out your trip online beforehand and search for anything from restaurants, to hotels, to quirky hidden treasures. I’m looking at you Arizona Meteor Crater! Definitely worth it for a long trip.
I love to listen to podcasts while in the car, and there are so many high quality, FREE options to keep you entertained for hours. Some of my favorites are Serial, Freakonomics, Stuff You Missed in History Class, and if you’re in the mood for something creepy – Welcome to Nightvale.
Like Google Maps, the purpose of Instagram is pretty obvious. Take in the road trip with your eyes, but be sure to preserve the memories with photos. I’ll have to do a separate post on my favorite travel hashtags; the list is too long to cover here.
Stuck on the road overnight? This astronomy lover’s app is perfect for stargazing. Hold your phone to the night sky, and Star Chart will tell you what you’re looking at – all using GPS and augmented reality. Star Chart tracks every star, planet and moon visible from Earth in real time. Dreamy.
Are you addicted to the Travel Channel and Food Network? Do you love learning about the country’s best local restaurants and dives, but have a deep unexplained hatred for Guy Fieri? No, just me? TV Food Maps helps you find all of the restaurants featured on your favorite Travel Channel (Man vs. Food, No Reservations) and Food Network shows, without that spiky haired human embodiment of a flaming hot cheeto.
If you are an unashamed history buff like me, then you will wonder how you went so long without History Here. History Channel’s app shares facts about historical sites hidden all around us, and I know it will give me new appreciation for the history I pass by unnoticed on every trip.