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The Best Road Trip Apps You Can Get for Free

Have smartphone, will travel. Check out these 10 handy road trip planner apps that will make your next road trip a whole lot easier and more enjoyable.

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road trip apps
via apps.apple.com (4)

Hitting the open road

While road trips never fall out of style, there’s maybe never been a better time to load up, gas up, and take to the pavement. Maybe it’s time to reconnect with your family as you hit up famous national landmarks. Maybe you’re more of a solo-trekker who enjoys the journey just as much as the destination.

Whatever sort of driver (backseat or not), navigator, or passenger you are, you know that road tripping is made better with planning. We’ve collected all the apps you need to enjoy the process of getting there and make the most of every stop along the way.

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road trip apps roadtripper app
via apps.apple.com

Best road trip app for navigators

Possibly the best road trip planner app you can download. Roadtrippers is both practical and fun, giving you directions to nearby gas stations and campsites, as well as to roadside attractions and national parks. Within the Roadtrippers app, you can put together your own road trip itinerary or download a pre-made one, read about destinations, and connect with other travelers who are on the same road as you.

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hotel tonight app
via apps.apple.com

Best app for last-minute stays

When you’re looking to score good hotel deals for a spur of the moment trip, try HotelTonight. Whether your overnight plans have fallen through or you simply don’t make plans, HotelTonight will help you find a good deal on a nearby hotel or motel, and it will give you directions straight there. No more paying double for a hotel room at the last minute! Don’t miss this road trip essentials checklist you should also have.

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gas buddy app road trip apps
via apps.apple.com

Best app for gasing up

If you’ve ever driven through the Mojave Desert, then you know that gas stations can occasionally be few and far between and, when they’re that, typically expensive, too. By using this nifty road trip planner app, you can find the cheapest gas near you, calculate the cost of a road trip, and never worry about running out of gas before the next station again with GasBuddy. Lifesaver! Knowing how to calculate the gas cost for a trip and how to save gas beforehand can help you plan better, too. P.S.—these are the best road trips in America.

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netfflix app
via apps.apple.com

Best app for movie watchers

We know what you’re thinking—streaming a show in the car is tough on your battery and data plan and isn’t likely to stream smoothly anyway. Which is why it’s so incredible that you can now download and save much of the content on Netflix to watch later. Now, you can easily binge-watch the latest series in your car (not while you’re driving, obviously), or let the kids zone out on Finding Dory guilt-free. Thank us later for this lifesaving app. Something else you also need? The best road trip snacks.

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spotify app
via apps.apple.com

Best app for music

No road trip is complete without a good travel playlist, which is why Spotify places as a top road trip planner app. You can get a $5 auxiliary cord at most interstate gas stations, then hook up your tunes to the stereo and jam out. And seriously, upgrade to premium already. It’s so worth it. You can even satisfy everyone with a podcast!

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hostel world app
via apps.apple.com

Best app for hostel-seekers

If you think hostels are just for college students studying abroad, think again. The Hostelworld app lets you browse hostels, filter results for your specific preferences (i.e., a private room or queen bed), and book a room in any one of over 35,000 hostels worldwide. When you’re on the road, you’ll find that hostels can provide cheaper lodging than most hotels and are frequently a lot more fun to stay at! Are you renting a car? These are the best cars to rent for a road trip.
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toll app
via apps.apple.com

Best app for budgeters

One expected yet tedious part of any road trip is the tolls. Bridges, highways, and state lines often have exorbitant tolls. However, with the Trip Toll Calculator by Tollguru, you’ll always know how to have the cheapest trip possible. With E-Z pass, pay-by-plate, and other options to keep you on your toes, Tollguru will tell you exactly how many quarters you need or what exit to take to make sure you’re never left in the lurch. Use it during these 15 best national park trips to take all year long.

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threes app
via apps.apple.com

Best app for puzzle lovers

You’ll be amazed how much road time you can kill with this simple yet addictive puzzle game. Threes is an offline number puzzle that involves sliding numbered tiles around a 3×3 grid to add them up. If that doesn’t sell you, perhaps the fact that it was Apple’s Game of the Year in 2014 will, or maybe its 5-star review from TouchArcade, who called it a “perfect mobile game.” Learn it in a minute, play it for a lifetime. Here are more great road trip games to play.

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via apps.apple.com

Best app for lodging

Perhaps an obvious road trip app, but worthwhile for many reasons besides the obvious. In addition to booking a place to stay on your road trip, Airbnb now also offers city guides written by savvy locals, workshops, and other experiences you can book hosted meet-ups with fellow travelers and even some audio walking guides. Wherever you’re traveling to and however long you’re staying, Airbnb can help you get a taste of local life there. If you want to keep your road trip lodgings more traditions, these are the best RV parks in every state.

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vegan food app
via apps.apple.com

Best app for vegan and vegetarian foodies

It can be hard to find good vegetarian and vegan fare while traveling, but not when HappyCow does all the work for you. This restaurant search app helps you find nearby veg-friendly restaurants, whether they’re explicit vegetarian or have several vegetarian items on the menu. You can search by dietary restriction or by the type of grub you’re looking for. Next, read about these epic summer road trips that every foodie should take.

Robin Babb
Robin is a freelance writer and editor in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a regular contributor to The Weekly Alibi. Her writing has also appeared in edible, The Establishment, and Mask Magazine. She is particularly interested in food, music, pop culture, and their intersections with social justice.