10 Must Have Road Trip Apps

I truly believe that half the mishaps and mayhem that ensued in the Robin Williams’s film RV could have been simply avoided by having the proper road trip apps. But then again, one of the main charms of the movie was the lack of touch screen cellular devices. I’m completely serious. The comedic masterpiece is set in a surreal world where IM is still in fashion. Isn’t that adorable? I really shouldn’t be judging – I still own a working flip phone. Do I ever use it, though? I’m actually not going to answer that question. Anyways, today, I’m introducing you to the must have road trip apps because you never want to get lost, have a broken down car, or run into the Gornicke family. If you haven’t seen the film yet, you are just going to have to trust me.

Must Have Road Trip Apps

Gas

Depending on where you are heading, you really have two main options when it comes to scouting for the best deals on gas. Waze and Gasbuddy. Overall, Waze is a more popular option. I can’t argue with the general psychology because the app is useful beyond finding Scrooge-worthy gas deals. Need to know about current traffic? Roadwork? Construction? Waze has you covered. The only problem with Waze is the user-base. Now, I love the user-base. Don’t get me wrong. Everyone is warm and considerate and quick to alert other drivers of upcoming hazards, but most of them don’t appear to willingly be passing through ghost towns. No, these drivers seem to be sticking to tried and tested routes. Unfortunately, when you’re driving through minimally populated cities that can create a bit of a predicament. Luckily, the users of Gasbuddy (another crowd sourced app) seem to have a knack for twisting the middle of nowhere into a more accessible destination.

Ultimate Rental Car Guide...blurry window picture (cause I try to be artsy)

Maps

Most phones nowadays come with a built in GPS system. Regardless, I still highly recommend downloading the Google Maps app as well because it is easy to tab back and forth between a GPS view and a list of instructions. Now, a hidden gem among map apps is MAPS.ME. MAPS.ME (in the app store as MapsWithMe) has a gorgeous simplistic user interface, but moreover, strikes gold in charting locations with the utmost detail. You can use it to find off-road sights and even cycling paths (anything, really). The best part? No Internet Connection is required. This app is completely offline. You don’t use cellular data and won’t be suppressed into paying awful roaming charges.

Must Have Travel Apps

Hotels

Last Minute has an appt title (pun intended. I apologize if you are rolling your eyes right now). It is a great tool for finding “last minute” hotel deals within the proximity of the area you are driving through. The discounts offered are reasonable and the app will serve as guide as you try to get a feel for the general prices in the area. For actual booking, the fast growing startup Hotels Tonight offers unparalleled offers. The discounts are mammoth. You can snag a luxury hotel for barely a $100. Now, if you have already booked your hotel in advance and it happens to be Marriott, be sure to download their app if you are interested in mobile check-in. You don’t have to hesitate about lines or face the annoyance perpetuated by looming crowds. The app streamlines the entire check-in process.

Must Have Road Trip Apps

Food

I happen to be the kind of person who dreams about dinner while I’m having lunch (tell me, I’m not the only one). Needless to say, finding the best on-the-go food app has always been one of my first priorities. I still believe the best way to uncover the most flavourful regional grub is to ask a localite, but if you are just driving through an area for a pit stop and still want to sample some of the provincial cuisine then TVFoodMaps is the must have app. The app aggregates restaurants featured from all your favourite food network shows, from Man vs. Food to Drivers, Diners, and Dives. I actually discovered the best chicken fried steak I’ve ever eaten in my life through this app. So yes, you should get it (the steak and the app). Now, on the deal spectrum, Groupon has long been my favourite. It’s the perfect app (albeit slightly bug-ridden) for finding great package deals. Looking for dinner for two? You can easily find 15% off at a high-end restaurant. How about a brunch cruise package? Yes, please.

Must Have Road Trip Apps: Dallas Skyline

Roadside Assistance

Should you ever find yourself needing roadside assistance (I hope you never do), then an app like Urgent.ly is useful to have on hand. AAA is still the most popular option, but their app is more of a habitat for bugs than the Insect House at the San Diego Zoo. I’m not joking. It feels like mission impossible just to reach the splash screen most of the time (insert loud, frustrated sigh). If you are looking for a more intuitive user interface, then Honk is another option. Both Urgent.ly and Honk offer practically the same services with only a nuanced difference.

Well, you should be all set now. Have you downloaded everything you see fit for your trip? Good. Then, I wish you a safe and joyous vacation!

Have you ever used any of the aforementioned must have road trip apps? If so, tell me in the comments below! As always, I would love to hear from you.

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21 Comments

  • Reply
    Jaynie Anderson Wall
    June 17, 2016 at 10:08 PM

    Great tips! I love that apps can make our life so much easier if we remember to use them. 🙂

    • Reply
      Anshula
      June 17, 2016 at 11:41 PM

      Awww…thanks, Jaynie. You are absolutely right! Apps are a great facilitator, but remembering to use them is often the first and most challenging step! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Maria Berneiser Haase
    June 17, 2016 at 10:45 PM

    I am going on a road trip from San Antonio to San Diego soon and those apps sound great for me to check out before I head out! Thanks for testing and sharing!

    • Reply
      Anshula
      June 17, 2016 at 11:19 PM

      I’m glad you found it helpful! And your road trip sounds so exciting and fun (I foresee some Route 66 stops..am I right?). I wish you safe and happy travels! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    A Taste for Travel
    June 17, 2016 at 11:04 PM

    I’ll definitely try MAPS.ME – the fact it doesn’t use data is a real bonus. Plus I love the idea of being able to see the cycling maps.

    • Reply
      Anshula
      June 17, 2016 at 11:16 PM

      Oh yes! When I first heard there was an offline map, I had to see it for myself! Then when I saw that it was free, I thought it was too good to be true. I was pleasantly surprised and taken aback by how amazing and detailed the maps on there were! 🙂 You should give it a go! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Jennifer Morrow
    June 18, 2016 at 12:18 AM

    Trip Advisor usually has the most current and accurate contact information, it is one of my go-to apps.

    • Reply
      Anshula
      June 18, 2016 at 12:30 AM

      Yes! I’ve actually used the Trip Advisor app a few times. I’ve since commenced to using their mobile website instead of their app (partially because I seem to always be low on storage) but you are absolutely right – it is incredibly amazing at keeping up with the latest contact info for hotels, attractions, and restaurants! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Marie Mekosh
    June 18, 2016 at 6:21 AM

    Thanks for the informative post! I will have to try out Maps.me. I’ve tried saving areas on Google maps for offline access yet somehow it never seems to quite work for me! :/

    • Reply
      Anshula
      June 18, 2016 at 12:30 PM

      Hey Marie! I’m glad you found the post useful! Saving areas on Google Maps is really a hit or miss but it is always good to have as a back up! Definitely try Maps.me. It is amazing!

  • Reply
    Christine Cognieux
    June 18, 2016 at 10:21 AM

    This is really helpful. Maps is definitely a big saver both the other ones I will have to try. thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Anshula
      June 18, 2016 at 12:33 PM

      Hello Christine! Google Maps is definitely one of the my favourite apps (I totally agree that is can be a life saver when your traditional GPS starts acting funky). xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Tamshuk Saha
    June 18, 2016 at 10:59 AM

    I’m still dependent on Google Maps when I am walking/driving in a new place. Will try out MAPS.ME too

    • Reply
      Anshula
      June 18, 2016 at 12:27 PM

      Yes! It is a startup (so not as oft heard of) but really is one of the most amazing map apps I have ever used xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Claire and Rosemary
    June 19, 2016 at 4:26 AM

    These are great solid recommendations. My default go to app is Google Maps…though now I’m intrigued by Maps.Me. Will check that out too 🙂 cheers

    • Reply
      Anshula
      June 19, 2016 at 1:23 PM

      Thank you! Do try MAPS.ME! It is one of my all-time favorites 🙂 xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Laura
    June 21, 2016 at 8:38 AM

    Great list! 🙂 I think I will check out map.me first!

    • Reply
      Anshula
      June 25, 2016 at 2:04 PM

      Awesome! I think you will fall in love with it 🙂

  • Reply
    Follow My Gut
    June 23, 2016 at 12:17 AM

    I’m downloading TVFoodMaps as I write this. Thank you so much for the suggestions. I have to agree with your recommendation of Hotel Tonight from personal experience. A friend told me about it a week ago when I was struggling to find a hotel for a friend’s wedding this past weekend. Since I was a bridesmaid, I had to go for the reception and the wedding. On my 2.5 hour drive to the city of the wedding, I used the app and found a room that was in the same hotel as the rest of party (which was originally sold out). Even better, I got the hotel room 20% cheaper than the hotel sold it on its site. how awesome is that?!?!? Thanks a bunch for all of these. I’ll be using them soon =]

    • Reply
      Anshula
      June 25, 2016 at 2:06 PM

      I love hearing stories like this! I’m so glad you got a cheaper rate (sounds like a fabulous wedding night miracle)! TVFoodMaps is such a great app for foodies! Best of luck in your travels! 🙂 xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Our Wanders
    June 28, 2016 at 12:14 PM

    Great summary! MAPS.ME is our absolute favorite, it saved us several times when there was no coverage at all to use GoogleMaps – like remote areas in national parks.
    Now we always download the country/region with MAPS.ME in advance and don’t worry about coverage or data roaming.

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