8 Mobile Apps for Successful Road Trips from Origin to Destination

Read Time: 5 - 10 min

Road trips often make for cheaper, more environmentally friendly, and better bonding experiences than traveling by plane. Sometimes taking the family or a group of friends on a long road trip is the best way to spend a holiday and see different places in your state or throughout the country (or many different countries, with passport in hand). However, road trips can also be stressful if you’re not prepared.

Luckily, modern technology has made road trips A LOT easier and more enjoyable. Several applications for your smartphone or other mobile devices have been specifically designed to aid a road trip crew along its journey. To save you time researching all those apps that will make your road trip as successful and fun as possible, here are 8 of the best to guide you all the way from your origin to your destination!

1. Waze

If you live in a busy, traffic-filled city, you have likely heard of or used Waze to help ease your commute. Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation app that crowd-sources real-time traffic and road information to alert drivers about heavy traffic, accidents, and other hazards along their way.

Not only is Waze a great app for your daily commute, but it can actually save you hours of time on long road trips. Before you start your journey, just plug your destination into the Waze app, and you will have the opportunity to follow the fastest route based on traffic and construction information.

Check the app periodically throughout your road trip, and Waze will alert you if anything along your route changes. For instance, if construction or an accident is causing a traffic build-up along the highway, Waze will guide you through an alternate route to avoid too much delay. Use Waze to steer away from hours of stop-and-go traffic on your next road trip!

2. Tollguru

Depending on where you’re headed, the tolls along highways can get pretty pricey. Tollguru is the only Trip Calculator app on the market that is free for users while also calculating toll and gas costs for all toll roads, turnpikes, tollways, bridges, and tunnels in the USA, Canada, Mexido, and India.

After you’ve calculated the fastest route using Waze, you can use Tollguru to see if that route is also the cheapest. Tollguru will help you save money on tolls, especially if you’re traveling long distances across many big cities. With Tollguru, you won’t have to be surprised by an expensive toll along the way and will have full knowledge of the money you’ll need to have at the ready if you should run into a toll. Ever been caught without exact change at a pay station along the highway? Tollguru can help with that!

 

3. iExit

Of course, no road trip would be complete without several adventurous and/or restful pit stops. Sometimes the hidden gems you find along the highway help you cultivate the best memories. With iExit, you can see what’s ahead while you’re driving on the interstate, so you know which exits have the best gas stations, rest stops, temporary lodging, restaurants, and even hospitals.

iExit will even give you information about all the stops along any interstate, including real-time fuel prices as far as 100 miles away and Travel Coupons available for hotels. The app will even show you the Yelp reviews for the restaurants and other businesses along each exit.

 

4. GasBuddy

If you’d rather keep the restaurants and hotels a surprise but still want to find the best gas prices, GasBuddy is another app that will help you along your road trip. You can find the cheapest gas, plan your trip around fuel prices, and even pay for your gas with GasBuddy.

You can even sign up with GasBuddy to receive a special gas card and save on fuel each time you swipe. You just link your checking account securely with GasBuddy and get a card mailed to you. Then start saving with every fill-up! It’s free to save 5 cents a gallon, $4.99 a month to save 20 cents a gallon, and $6.99 a month to save 20 cents a gallon plus get roadside services like towing, flat tires, jump starts, lock outs, fuel delivery, and winching.

 

5. ParkMobile

While you’re navigating through stops along the way or even getting to your final destination, you can save time and money by paying for parking through your mobile device. ParkMobile is a pay by phone parking app that serves millions of spots in over 3,000 locations nationwide. Using ParkMobile, you can save your license plate number and up to 7 different forms of payment and park much more easily and conveniently at meters, on college campuses, and even in major event spaces and sporting arenas.

If you’re out and about after parking with ParkMobile, you can also add more time to your meter using the app remotely, as long as you haven’t used up the maximum amount of time allotted for your chosen parking space.

ParkMobile also offers services in some areas that will allow you to reserve your parking in advance. If you know you’re going to be stopping in or arriving at a busy city with limited parking, check your ParkMobile app to see if you can reserve a spot ahead of time. Using ParkMobile, you don’t have to worry about losing time or adding stress to your journey while parking along your route!

 

6. Roadtrippers

For the ultimate road trip planning app, check out Roadtrippers. Using the Roadtrippers trip planning function, you can plan your trip by adding and collecting places that look interested along your journey, from your origin to destination. Don’t know where you want to go yet? You can also use the app to explore places and see what fascinating detours you might find.  

Roadtrippers is a great app for the strict trip planners as well as those with major wanderlust. The app allows you to refine your choices and make sure you know exactly where you want to eat and stay along the road, or explore new places by finding fun pit stops you might have never expected to encounter.

Roadtrippers Plus (which costs $29.99 per year) offers even more services like an offline map to help you continue planning even while off the grid, save as many trips on the app as you want with up to 150 waypoints per trip, and check out live traffic conditions along the way. You can even choose the map style that suits you best!

 

7. Google Play

Though all the planning apps will certainly give you peace of mind along your road trip, you also want to think about entertainment along the journey! Google Play Music allows you to choose a playlist that suits your mood for free, so you can listen to multiple artists and songs, or choose a playlist in the style of your favorite artist.

Many music streaming apps offer similar services, so it’s really about choosing your favorite. Google Play is free with a few short commercials here and there, but like with other music streaming apps, you can pay a monthly fee to avoid any ads and listen to music to your heart’s content.

 

8. Audible

If music makes you fall asleep on road trips, and you prefer to get your brain involved, listening to audiobooks using Audible is a great alternative. If you’re new to Audible, you can try it FREE for 30 days. After those initial 30 days, Audible costs $14.95 per month for one free audiobook and two Audible originals per month. Cancel anytime, and you can roll over any unused credits for up to five months!

And, if you don’t want to pay money for your audiobooks, check with your local library. Many local libraries offer free audiobook downloads that would be fulfilling entertainment for a road trip as well.

No matter how you get your audiobooks, listening to a book on a road trip can be a great way to stay stimulated and entertained while you drive, maybe learn something new, or let your imagination wander!

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Hopefully these apps will give you an arsenal of tools to help you have the most convenient, enjoyable, and well-planned (or spontaneous) road trip possible. Though going out and exploring on the road has always been a thrilling way to travel, modern technology has made it much less stressful while also offering ways to find destinations and pit stops you may have never thought of before.

And, of course, enjoy the journey!

 

 

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