Best Road Trip Apps
Load these apps onto your phone before you hit the road!
There are few things better than hitting the open road on a cross country road trip. Whether you’re heading out with your best buds, or loading the kids into the car to visit relatives a few states over a little app prep will make sure the trip goes as smooth as is possible.
If your car doesn’t have Android Auto functionality built into its stereo system, it’s worth checking out Google’s app for staying connected in your car. It’s now available on any Android phone, so you don’t need to buy a brand new car or upgrade your car stereo to take advantage of the convenience — it’ll just run right on your phone.
Android Auto makes it easier to use apps from your phone while you’re on the road, and the latest update adds “OK Google” wake word compatibility, so you don’t need to touch the screen to activate voice commands. Navigate with Google Maps, listen to playlists or podcasts from your favorite apps, send messages via voice, and more.
While Google Maps remains the most popular navigation app for Android (largely due to its inclusion as a stock app on most Android devices), Waze is a great option to consider for all your GPS navigation needs.
Waze users get the benefit of all the information gleaned from other Waze users on the road, from real-time traffic information including accident reports, police traps and other hazards seen on the road. You’re also encouraged to add your own updates and contribute to your local Waze community as well. Using all that data, Waze will automatically reroute you to avoid any upcoming hazards, and also has really smart features for finding the cheapest gas stations along the way as well as ways of keeping family and friends in the loop on your ETA.
Google Trips is a great travel planning app that helps with some of the mundane aspects of travelling like keeping track of your reservations, while also helping to plan out your days in a new city by suggesting cool things to do based on your interests and available time.
If you’re planning to make a pitstop on your way to your final destination, plug the city into the app and see what it generates! It’s also available offline, so if you planned out your pit stops ahead of time you can keep in the know even if your phone’s data konks out.
When you’re exploring a new city trying to figure out what’s worth checking out, you’re best off checking in with the locals. Yelp is one of the most popular apps for reviewing restaurants and businesses with over 100 million reviews posted by users just like you.
When you’re in a pinch for a roadside bite and need to know what’s good, Yelp will help you find the perfect restaurant to fuel up and get back on the road.
Fuelling up is often one of the biggest expenses you’ll incur on a road trip. GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest places to fill up along the way. Not only is this an app that you’ll want to use on a road trip, but you might end up becoming an everyday user once you see the savings for yourself.
All the data is user generated, so if you see a cheaper gas price not listed in the app, you can report the price in the app and contribute to the GasBuddy community.
Google Play Music
What’s a road trip without some kick ass driving music? Or maybe a podcast is more your speed? Regardless of what you prefer to listen to on your long distance drives, Google Play Music is your best bet.
With a subscription, you get streaming access to over 40 million tracks along with curated playlists, so the music won’t ever stop, even on the longest of drives. Google Play Music is also home to all your favorite podcasts, and it incorporates right into Android Auto for hands-free control of all your music while you’re on the road. That is, unless your co-pilot has already claimed the role of in-car DJ…
With it’s latest update allowing for offline viewing on mobile devices, Netflix suddenly became the go-to app for parents hoping to distract the young ones in the back without having to worry about all that data.
There’s a large amount of kid-friendly content available to be downloaded for offline viewing, which should help keep the shouts of “are we there yet?” to a minimum. Load up a phone or tablet with your kids’ favorites and look forward to the quietest road trip you’ve ever enjoyed. It’s also a great option for keeping adults quiet, too. A subscription is required, of course, but if you don’t already have one you for sure know someone who does.
Where are you headed?
How do you plan for your road trips? Any apps that we missed? Let us know in the comments!