Road trips are “in” this year. Whether you need a travel packing list, the cheapest gas price, or a toilet finder, there’s “an app for that!” Using a road trip planner app is a convenient way to store all your essential travel plans all in one place. Below we’ll explore ten useful apps that can help you stay organized, budget, and find your way around.
1. Roadtrippers (Route Planning)
Roadtrippers is a robust road trip planner app with many useful features. Not only can you plan out your entire trip, but you can also use the app to navigate. The app allows you to mark your planned stops easily and suggests things for you to do along the way. You can estimate how much you’ll spend on gas, book hotels, and tours, and get traffic updates. Roadtrippers Plus has even more features, allowing you to create itineraries and download pre-made trip guides.
2. PackPoint (Packing List)
A road trip packing list can help you keep track of your belongings before, during, and after travel. It’s the best way to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything essential. But rather than keep track of a paper checklist, why not use an app! PackPoint is a travel packing list app that allows you to create custom packing lists for free. You can categorize your list and even see what the weather is like at your destination. The premium version also allows you to link to your TripIt itinerary!
3. TripIt (Itineraries)
TripIt is a mobile itinerary app that allows you to compile your road trip or travel plans all in one place. You can send your travel confirmation emails to the app, add things like photos and PDFs, email your itinerary to someone else, and even sync your trip to your calendar. TripIt Pro has additional features such as trip reminders, a rewards program tracker, “go now” reminders, and a host of flight-related tools. If you love itineraries, you’ll love this road trip planner app!
4. Waze (Traffic & Directions)
Waze is a GPS navigation and live traffic app that helps you get to where you need to go. Not only does it help you get to your destination, but it also allows users to input information such as road hazards, construction sites, and police sightings.
Another popular feature of the app is its rerouting tool. When the app notices traffic back up ahead, it will notify you of the situation and offer alternative routes. Waze has also added features such as a speedometer, a gas finder, a parking garage/lot finder, and it will even sync with your music and podcast apps.
5. Google Maps (Destination Finder)
Suppose you’re directionally changed, like me, using Google Maps to get around a new city is a game changer. The app isn’t just for driving navigation and can be used when getting around on foot or by bike. And if your location history has been enabled, the app will even give you destination recommendations based on places you’ve previously visited. In addition, Google Maps will let you share your location and download maps offline if you know you’ll have spotty service.
6. GasBuddy (Best Gas Prices)
GasBuddy is a fuel savings app that uses your location to help you locate cheap gas. You can also sign up for a free Pay with GasBuddy card to save even more at the pump. Here’s how it works.
Once you receive the card in the mail, you will connect it to your bank account. Next, you’ll use the app to unlock deals. Then, when you are ready to fill up, you use your GasBuddy card instead of your debit card. When you do this, you’ll receive up to 25 cents off per gallon, and if you upgrade to their premium account, you can get up to 40 cents off per gallon. The GasBuddy card works at 95% of gas stations in the U.S.
Additionally, if you want to save even more on gas, you can participate in their Shop Your Way program. Use the app to shop their retailers and they will apply more gas discounts to your card.
7. Flush (Toilet Finder)
Although comical, the Flush restroom finder app is genius! All you have to do is open the app, which will display public restroom options near you. The app also tells you if the bathroom is handicap accessible, if there is a fee, and even lets you know if a key is required. And this app isn’t just for those in the U.S.; it helps you find toilets worldwide!
8. Trabee Pocket (Budget Tracker)
The Trabee Pocket app was designed specifically for tracking your spending while traveling. The app allows you to enter pre-trip costs, add on-the-go costs, categorize your purchases, and will show you how much you’ve spent via a pie graph. And if you don’t want to hold on to your paper receipt, you can take photos and upload them to the app. When your road trip is over, you can export your expense detail to a PDF or even a CSV file that you can open in Microsoft Excel. This simple-to-use expense tracker is great for budget-conscious road trippers looking to watch their spending!
9. HotelTonight (Last-Minute Stays)
If you’re looking for last-minute hotel deals, HotelTonight is your app. Perfect for road trips, this app is ideal for those who decide, unplanned, that they want to stay the night in town before moving on to their next destination. So how does it work?
HotelTonight partners with hotels to help them fill up their unreserved rooms. In return, they can offer deep discounts to get those rooms filled. And although the app advertises last-minute accommodations, you can also book stays up to 100 days in advance. Be careful, though! Because these are great deals, you likely won’t get a refund for a cancellation or the ability to request a different type of room.
10. Gypsy Guide (Audio Tours)
Gypsy Guide is a GPS-narrated audio tour app that will give you information about your current location. While driving or walking, the app will suggest local tips and tell you about all the things there are to do and see around you. It’s a personal tour guide at your fingertips! Additionally, the app lets you download and play tours offline if you know that you’ll have bad cell service in an area. Imagine the beautiful coastal California scenery of a Big Sur road trip with options for the best places to stop and take it all in!
There are tons of road trip planner apps, so be sure to research and find the apps that best fit your needs. It’s always a good idea to test out your apps before your trip, so you’re not fumbling around while driving. Enjoy your vacation and be safe out there!
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Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of Wander With Alex, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel easier.