Best Mobile Apps for Road Trips

My memories of a family road trip involve being stuffed into whatever space was left in the car after loading up two parents, at least one dog, our luggage, and three older siblings.  I was usually shoved into the foot well with the dog or on the shelf behind the back seat (no one was worrying about seat belts or car seats in those days.) Things really got luxurious when we got the station wagon with the backward facing seat.

Fast forward thirty or forty years and family road trips look a lot different.  But while technology has advanced, many things remain the same: siblings fighting, boredom setting in, finding your way, needing to look for a place to eat, go to the bathroom, or get gas, and getting stuck in traffic.  While some families may travel with DVD entertainment consoles, navigation systems, and portable gaming units, almost all of us are carrying mobile smartphones.

Here are my recommendations for the best mobile apps for road trips:

Driving & Navigation

waze mobile app for road trips1. Waze

Waze is a crowd-sourced mapping, navigation and traffic app that used community-sourced maps and real-time traffic to deliver the best route to your destination. Inrix uses GPS data from over 100 million trucks, cameras, road sensors, in-car navigation systems, and other app users to create the best free traffic data available and predict the fastest route to your destination.

 

GasBuddy | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips via We3Travel

2. GasBuddy

GasBuddy lets you search for the lowest gas prices by city, state, zip code or location.  helps you find the cheapest gas prices around. You can also report gas prices to win prizes.

 

 

I-95 Exit Guide | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips via We3Travel3. I-95 Exit Guide or iExit

iExit tells you what is coming up in realtime on the interstate for up to 100 exits ahead, including food, hotels, and gas, and offer discounts with exclusive coupons.  I-95 Exit Guide is a comprehensive guide to exit services, rest areas, construction, travel weather, gas prices and more along Interstate 95 from Maine to Florida.

 

AAA Roadside Assistance | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips via We3Travel4. AAA Roadside Assistance

The AAA Roadside Assistance app lets you store your membership and vehicle information, as well as request roadside assistance directly from the mobile application. If you select the type of breakdown your request is automatically routed to a local roadside technician.

Eating, Sleeping & Shopping

AroundMe | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips via We3Travel5. AroundMe

AroundMe helps you find banks, bars, coffee shops, gas stations, hospitals, and more with GPS directions, augmented reality, click to call, and reviews from services like Foursquare and OpenTable.

 

 

Hotel Tonight | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips via We3travel6. Hotel Tonight

Hotel Tonight offers last minute deals on unused hotel rooms in major cities and countries along the globe.  Perfect for nomads or deviations off your planned journey.

 

 

Food Network on the Road | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips via We3Travel7. Eat St

If you are into the food truck scene, you can use Eat St, from Food Network, to find locations and reviews of local food trucks.

 

Urbanspoon | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips via We3Travel8. Urban Spoon

Urbanspoon helps you find a good nearby restaurant by just shaking your phone, or you can lock down the neighborhood, cuisine, and/or price range to narrow the results. Urbanspoon also offers diner reviews, the ability to post reviews and share photos, browse ratings from newspapers, bloggers, and fellow diners, and make reservations.

 

Restaurant Nutrition | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips via We3Travel9. Restaurant Nutrition

We all know that it is hard to eat healthy on the road.  With Restaurant Nutrition, you can find out nutritional information from popular chains.  Note: it is best to open this app before you go to download the database over WiFI.

 

Entertainment

Stack the States | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips via We3Travel13. Stack the States and PopGeo

How about a little geography fun and learning? Stack the States quizzes users on state names, locations, capitals and more.  When answered correctly, the user “stacks” the states until they pile up to reach the finish line, where they “win” a state to add to their collection.  PopGeo tests users on the location of states, capital, and national parks.

 

License Plate Game | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips via We3Travel14. License Plate Game

Kids can search for and keep track of license plates from each US state using License Plate Game. Plates are easy to identify with pictures of all 50 US state license plates and Washington D.C. The plates fly down the highway as you scroll through them.

 

Roadtrip Bingo | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips via We3Travel15. Road Trip Bingo

The classic car game with a new twist. Kids will search for road signs, vehicles, animals, and more.  You win when you get five in a row. Perfect for keeping the kids occupied in the car during that summer vacation drive or day to day driving.

 

Punch Buggy App | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips via We3Travel16.  Punch Buggy Mobile

The classic game comes to mobile (but hopefully with less punching).  Punch Buggy Mobile keeps track of the number of “punch buggies” found for multiple players, with extra points awarded for different types of cars or colors.

 

Destinations

Oh Ranger | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips16. Oh Ranger! or National Geographic National Parks

Oh Ranger! is American Park Network’s most comprehensive source for information on U.S. national parks, state parks, national forests, wildlife refuges and public land. Each location contains information on the available activities, including 20 different activity categories to find the right place for you and your friends and family. National Parks by National Geographic lets you explore U.S. national parks easily on iPhone and iPad. Get National Geographic editor’s recommendations on park must-dos, get photo tips from renowned National Geographic photographers, check out stunning national park photos, discover park secrets and more with this app.

History Here | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips17. HISTORY Here

HISTORY® Here is an interactive travel guide to thousands of historic locations across the United States. The easy-to-use interface and dynamic maps bring history to life anywhere in the country with HISTORY® videos, images and descriptions.

 

Roadside America | Best Mobile Apps for Family Roadtrips18. Roadside America

The Roadside America App was created by America’s foremost experts in roadside attractions and oddities. It’s packed with info and maps for the nation’s funniest and weirdest must-sees. When you purchase the app for $2.99, the Roadside America App lets you choose one of seven US/Canada regions to unlock.

 

TripAdvisor | Best Mobile Apps for Roadtrips19. TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor offers offline city guides, as well as their traditional app with over 100 million reviews and opinions by travelers to find the best places to eat, sleep, and sightsee, including candid photos by travelers.

 

PIN THIS FOR LATER

Best mobile apps for roadtrips | Family road trip apps

 

Do you have any favorite mobile apps for road trips?

2 Comments on “Best Mobile Apps for Road Trips

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  1. I hadn’t heard of some of these, so looking forward to checking them out. Thanks

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