Road trips are a great way to see the country. When you’re in an airplane, you look down and see all of those spots you wish you could pull over to take a look around – but you can’t. Only a good old-fashioned car lets you do that. There’s so much spontaneity to be had on a road trip, between finding fun little spots to grab lunch, surprisingly photogenic scenery to pull over for and historic landmarks along the way. Road trips also provide an opportunity to bond with your fellow passengers. Research out of the University of Massachusetts found that traveling can increase life-long bonds and even reduce the chances of divorce among married couples.
It’s no wonder that a survey by CarInsurance.com found that 70 percent of road trippers say their experience on the road was a lot of fun, and that they’d do it again. Of course, while spontaneity is half the thrill of the road trip, it’s always nice to have some useful tools to give you some structure – and tips – when you need it. Here are apps to download for your next great road trip.
1) Roadside America
If you’re looking to explore all of the quirky and unexpected sights and landmarks along the great American highways, the Roadside America app can help you do it. It will suggest interesting stopping points based on your route. Just set your starting point and endpoint, and you can use a variety of filters to narrow down the types of spots you’d like the app to recommend along the way. It offers useful maps and also tips from travelers who’ve been there before. The app currently has over 15,000 attractions logged and focuses on the unique and offbeat.
2) The Dyrt
If you’re riding in an RV or with a camper hitched to your vehicle, you’ll want The Dyrt app. It helps you find RV and campsites across America. Should you prefer something a little more sheltered, it also helps you find cabins. It additionally provides photos, reviews and tips from previous travelers. Simply set your location and the app will bring up a list of places for you to spend the night in your area. Those who upgrade to a PRO account can get access to gear discounts, find free camping sites and unlock other great perks.
3) AAA Mobile
If you are a AAA member, then you have access to many member benefits and discounts. Failing to look into those while on a road trip is a missed opportunity. The AAA mobile app will show you all sorts of locations and venues from hotels to restaurants that offer discounts and special deals to AAA members. It will also show you AAA-approved auto repair shops, should something happen on the road, locates AAA Approved and Diamond rated hotels and restaurants and helps you find cheap gas.
4) Gas Buddy
With gas prices currently soaring, this app can be a big money saver if you’re taking your car across country. It finds gas along your route and lets you filter by brand, gas type, cash/credit cards accepted and more. It also has a useful gas map showing where gas prices are high and low across the entire country. The Gas Buddy calculator helps you plan your trip for the best gas prices. Type in your vehicle make and model, MPG, tank size and fuel type and it will help you calculate your gas cost for the journey.
Once you’re already on the road and moving at high speeds, you usually only notice places you would’ve liked to stop at once they’re in the rearview mirror. The iExit app shows you what you can find at upcoming exits so you can know when to pull over to use a restroom, grab a bite, get gas and more. It has useful icons that will pop up next to each exit, showing you what’s there, like an icon for a gas station, restaurant, hotel or bank. The app locates you automatically and shows you in real-time how far you are from each exit.
The Roadtrippers app is a great app to use if you’re wanting to be surprised along your route and you’re collaborating a trip with friends. When you and others on the road have the app, you can plan your stops together and keep track of each other. The app has icons to show you what sorts of amazing landmarks and cool stops are coming up like national parks, breweries, historic structures and more. You can add in the types of locations you’d like to see, and the app will find them for you and show you where they are along your planned route. Those who upgrade to Roadtrippers Plus can see live traffic updates, get maps even when they’re offline, unlock discounts and more.
While it is more known among air travelers, Tripit is equally useful for road trippers. Here’s how it works: any time you book anything pertaining to your trip, like a hotel, a dinner reservation or a sightseeing tour, you email the confirmation email to Plans@tripit.com. Tripit immediately saves all of your plans in the app, so you have your full itinerary ready to go in one place. Some particularly useful features of the app include the COVID-19 guidelines, which are kept up to date for most destinations, within the app, as well as offline access which will give you access to your itinerary even when you don’t have access to the Internet. The app also shows neighborhood safety scores, lets you share your itinerary with others and syncs plans with your calendar.