Travel Guides

6 Must-Have Apps for Road Trips

Must-have apps for a road trip

These days, flights are canceled and road trips are in. So turn your phone off airplane mode and get ready to take advantage of all the wonderful amenities it has to offer. From road trip entertainment to maintenance, navigation, and saving money our phones allow us to prepare for the perfect trek. Be sure to save this list and download the apps before your next road trip while you have plenty of Wi-Fi and are sitting safely in your home. Every single app in this list is something that we actually used on our latest cross-country haul. 

  1. Waze
    • Waze is a navigation app that is superior to Apple and Google Maps because it updates road conditions and traffic information more frequently and accurately. What’s more, Waze then uses the traffic information to create a safer and more efficient route. This app was a savior when navigating through rush hour in Chicago on this past road trip. Last tip and helpful if you’re a speed demon. Waze will alert you to police on the highway to help you avoid those tickets. 
  2. GasBuddy
    • GasBuddy’s main function is to help you search and find gas stations along your route. My favorite function is the ability to filter the map for what you need. Whether that’s finding the cheapest price, closest station, or existence of restrooms. The app has many other functions including the ability to earn rewards by purchasing items through the app and linking your bank card to the app for a chance to save up to 25 cents per gallon. 
  3. Hotwire
    • We used the Hot Wire app to find 2 of the hotels that we stayed in on this trip. Now, I’m sure you’re all familiar with the website version of Hotwire, but this app boasts exclusive and ~ last-minute ~ hotel (and rental car) deals that make booking a breeze. You can filter star ratings and other travel amenities to find the perfect fit for you. Using the Hotwire app, we found a top-rated hotel in Omaha that is pet friendly, in the heart of downtown, and offers a free hot breakfast…our favorite. What’s more, we booked it a day before our stay. Nothing like a last-minute deal! 
  4. Spotify
    • With so many entertainment apps out there, it can be difficult to pick your poison. Here’s why I choose Spotify. While you can get it free, it is only $10/month for the premium version. Not only is there an endless selection of music, playlists, and podcasts, they now have audiobooks. It’s a one-stop shop for all of your entertainment needs. What’s more? I curated this list of the perfect road trip podcasts that can be found on Spotify. This makes things less cumbersome when driving and fumbling for the perfect content. Not to mention, Spotify automatically makes playlists based on your listening history and recommends new music and shows ensuring that you’ll have ample entertainment on the drive.
  5. Roadside Assistance and/or Vehicle Maintenance
    • Roadside assistance and vehicle maintenance apps can come in many forms. Many car insurance companies offer apps where you can access up-to-date insurance ID cards, file claims, upload pictures/documents, find nearby maintenance, and access roadside assistance. Thankfully, we didn’t need to use our insurance app for this trip. We did use the FordPass app to first heat up the car when it was only 6 degrees and secondly, check the tire pressure when it was low but we didn’t have a tire gauge. Several other car manufacturers have similar apps like FordPass that allow you to stay on top of maintenance while on the road.
  6. Food Reward Apps
    • Food apps are not only great for saving you an extra buck with rewards. But most often, you can search for locations on your route, order, and pay ahead making for a seamless stop. Believe it or not, most fast food chains along with other ubiquitous stops like Starbucks and Chipotle offer apps now. So, pick your favorite and start earning those rewards on your next road trip!

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