You’ve heard the expression, “there’s an app for that.” Fortunately for road trippers, there really is a mobile application for almost every purpose. Whether you’re exploring the country by RV, motorcycle or car, travel smart by utilizing the resources at your fingertips.
Don’t throw money away. GasBuddy uses your location to display the best gasoline and diesel prices near you. By planning ahead for your next fuel stop, pennies per gallon will add up and you can use them to fund more exciting parts of your road trip!
Related apps: Gas Guru, Waze
2. National Parks
We have 59 national parks in the United States, and every one is noteworthy and worth visiting. Even if you can only take a detour for one morning or afternoon, you’ll be surprised by how much ground you can cover. The National Parks by Chimani app offers a comprehensive guide to all of the entities in our National Park System, including parks, monuments, historical parks, battlefields and more. Use the map view to easily find sites in your area.
Related apps: National Parks by National Geographic, ParkFinder
Hiking is a low- to-no-cost activity that gives you access to the most unforgettable natural areas in our country. Plus, you can get a workout without even noticing! The AllTrails app has collected almost every recognized hiking trail there is, with reviews, photos and difficulty levels. The free version is extremely functional, but you can get custom maps and offline access by going pro.
Related apps: MotionX GPS, Yonder, MapMyHike GPS Hiking
With all that hiking, you’ve worked up an appetite. TVFoodMaps is a mouthwatering guide to restaurants you’ve seen featured on TV shows like “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” “Man vs Food” and “Bizarre Foods.” Enter your destination to display eateries on your route or just search by location.
Related apps: Zagat, TripAdvisor
You’ve probably heard of Yelp, but no list of road-tripping apps would be complete without it. I probably consult this crowdsourced reviewing tool daily, as my husband and I travel the country full-time in our motorhome. Because I use it so much, I’ve learned to take reviews with a grain of salt, knowing that people who have bad experiences are quicker to leave reviews than those with good experiences. I also know what “makes” a dining experience for me personally. For example, I’m willing to overlook a customer service faux pas for the best food in town, so I don’t worry as much about negative reviews about customer service. Pro tip: Yelp is more than restaurants. We recently used it to find a mechanic in Portland, OR, when we were having car trouble. Lifesaver!
Related apps: Urbanspoon, AroundMe
I love the Roadtrippers app! By adding start and end points, you are on your way to awesome discoveries. Roadtrippers includes everything from movie filming locations to haunted places to scenic drives. As soon as something catches your eye, pin it to your custom map to stay organized.
Related apps: Along the Way, Roadside America
The last app on our list, TripAdvisor, is another resource you may have heard of before. I wrestled with the mobile website for a long time before breaking down and downloading the app. I could’ve saved myself a lot of time because the app is much more functional. Like Yelp, TripAdvisor is valuable because of its huge user base. Because there are so many reviews, star ratings are more accurate and there is more information available so you can make the best decision with limited time. TripAdvisor specializes in food, hotel and activity ratings. I tend to use Yelp for food, and save TripAdvisor to find things to do. There’s a list available for every city you visit, in order of popularity.
Related apps: Like A Local, Time to Enjoy
Make your next road trip about the journey, not just the destination! I hope these 7 free mobile apps will help you discover memorable experiences that you can cherish and share.