Best Road Trip Apps For Your Next Adventure

Smartphones are revolutionizing travel. There are thousands of apps available that make travel planning a cinch, like booking flights and accommodations on the fly, or searching for restaurants and things to do while you’re out and about, then getting directions with a few simple swipes.
With so many options, it can be hard to determine which apps are truly the most helpful, so we asked The Budget-Minded Traveler Community for help. The following is a list of the best road trip apps and why our community members love them. If you don’t have these apps on your smartphone already, download them now and plan your next adventure.
Using your iPhone overseas for the first time? Make it easy with these guides:

10 Best Road Trip Apps for Your Next Adventure

Road Trip Apps

1. GasBuddy

Fuel is essential while on a road trip. With this app, find the closest gas station or the one with the lowest prices – whatever your needs may be. Loyal to a certain brand, like Shell or Stop & Shop? Filter your searches by brand. Or perhaps you need a gas station that offers additional amenities like an ATM, restrooms, carwash, or convenience store. Search for those in this road trip app, too.
One cool feature of the app is the ability to accumulate points by completing in-app challenges and use those points to enter to win daily prize drawings, like $100 in gas.
A helpful feature of the GasBuddy website is the Trip Cost Calculator. Input starting and ending locations plus the year, make, and model of your car, and it automatically estimates the total fuel cost of the trip. The estimate even includes suggested gas stations and an estimated number of gallons and cost to fill up. When deciding between the benefits of fast travel by plane or a fun road trip, compare the costs using this calculator.
Cost: Free in the iPhone App Store and Google Play. As far as we can tell, it only works in the US and Canada.

[et_bloom_inline optin_id=optin_6]

2. TV Food Maps

Food is another essential part of any road trip and trying delicious-looking dishes featured on the Travel Channel or the Food Network while traveling can be a highlight of your trip. “Whether you’re looking for favs from “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” or countless other food and drink shows on television, this app will help any foodie map out their dining destinations on the road,” says one BMT Community member.
Follow your favorite show, search for restaurants nearby or search by cuisine. Or plug in the start and finish locations of a road trip to see all the options along the way.
Cost: Free in the iPhone App Store and Google Play. Pay $2.99 in-app for premium features.

3. Maps.Me

One BMT Community member likes Maps.Me because, “I can download the maps for the area/country I am headed on to my phone and use it as a GPS without using any data on the road!” Another member uses this app often, saying “I love being able to pin where I’m staying and places I want to go so I never actually have to remember it all! Love that it is offline and has every city I’ve needed so far!”
This is a great app to use navigation and search functions in offline maps. Save places of interest and create a driving, biking, or walking route to follow. Search for places of interest by category or by name in the search bar. Over 200 countries are represented including all fifty US states. Keep in mind that downloading the maps to your phone will take up space, so download only what you need.
Cost: Free in the iPhone App Store and Google Play.
Related: Renting a Car in Europe: 3 Things You Need to Know

4. Road Trippers

This app was described by one BMT Community member as “good to use to plan or find spots” that are along your route. She also said, “It’s mostly in the US” and “sometimes the locations aren’t 100% accurate,” which is true, but it’s a great resource to find places to eat, things to see, and even offbeat attractions.
Browse through Trips created by users like “America’s Spookiest Halloween Attractions,” a collection of the scariest haunted houses/tours in the Northeast. Perfect for an October road trip!
Sort your searches by categories including hotels, things to do, food & drink, amusement & nightlife, and outdoors, among others. Each category is divided further to refine your searches. For instance, choose ‘Abandoned’ or ‘Photo Op’ from the Points of Interest category to find the quirky attractions. Save the things that interest you the most and go back to them later.
Cost: Free in the iPhone App Store and Google Play.
Related: Motion Sickness Tips for Travelers

5. iExit

iExit will help you decide which exit to take for road trip pit stops. Using your phone’s GPS, this app automatically displays a summary of available amenities at each upcoming exit. Or you can search for specific restaurants, gas stations, lodgings, rest areas, or places with WiFi. Once you find a suitable coffee shop or campground, call, visit the website, or get directions using Apple or Google Maps with just a couple clicks.
Cost: Free in the iPhone App Store and Google Play. This app only works on major exit-based highways in the United States.
Related: 50 Songs About Travel and Adventure: A BMT Community Playlist

6. Hiking Project

This app by REI is “super similar to maps but has all the hiking trails downloadable by state!” said another community member. Hundreds of miles of trails from 80 other countries are also available with this app, including popular countries to road trip in like New Zealand and many European countries.
Using GPS, your exact location on the trail is shown whether or not you are within cell range. Other features include elevation profiles (to know exactly where on the trail you’ll be facing rises in elevation), directions to trailheads, and detailed descriptions of trails and the surrounding area. Keep track of trails you’ve done and the ones you want to do within the app by saving them to lists or pinning them.
Cost: Free in the iPhone App Store and Google Play.
Related: 8 Countries in 2 Weeks: European Road Trip Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

7. TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor has more features than hotel and restaurant reviews to offer travelers. According to one community member, the “TripAdvisor app lets you download a map of the city and places you want to go to and it works when you don’t have wifi as well!” You can also book tours, find flights and activities, read user-generated travel guides, or find vacation rentals, hotels, and B&B’s.
Included with the downloadable maps for cities across the globe are reviews and photos, all available while offline. To download city maps, first search for the city you are traveling to, then scroll down the page to the “Get to know [city]” section. Choose between a full or basic (excluding photos and reviews) map and click to download.
Cost: Free in the iPhone App Store and Google Play.

8. Track My Tour

“I like [to use] Track My Tour for tracking where I’ve been,” one BMT Community member said. “It allows you 2 free maps, where you can use geotags of pictures (or tag without a geotag if you have no data) and you can put things down as overnight stops, places of interest, or restaurants to remind you of all you did. As you tag it creates a map that follows your route.”
In the free version, you can create two free maps to share using a link or make them public and browse other public maps. Your two free maps can be deleted and replaced if you don’t want to pay the premium price. Two features I see as helpful are the ability to add waypoints later after you have left the area, and the caption section for each waypoint is good for jotting down notes worth remembering (what you ate, cost of meal/accommodation, names of people you met there, etc.).
Cost: Free in the iPhone App Store. Pay $11.99 for premium features.
Related: 9 Online Gifts for Travelers On the Go

[et_bloom_inline optin_id=optin_6]

9. Google Translate

One community member says Google Translate was “invaluable” on a recent road/rail trip. “Especially when you have downloaded the language and can use it offline, and to translate signs etc through pictures.” Unfortunately, she mentioned that it “did not work for [translating] Chinese.”
Translate between over a hundred languages using text. Offline translations and photo, instant camera, and handwriting translations are limited to certain languages. This app also has the ability to translate conversations in two languages, and you can save certain translated words or phrases for later use.
Cost: Free in the iPhone App Store and Google Play.
Related: One Week in Portugal in a Rental Car

10. Road Side America

Use this road trip app to find off-beat and unique sites on the road that you probably have never heard about before. One member says, “I used it a couple years ago when I drove from Louisiana to South Dakota– stopped at a couple cool, random places that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.”
Search by city, state, or theme. Some notable themes worth mentioning include UFO, Zombie Army, and Irrational Geographics, the latter being a favorite of mine. This category includes sites such as the 42nd Parallel Marker and the World’s Formerly Largest Rotating Globe, both in Massachusetts (my home state). Save places you’re interested in seeing and keep track of sites you’ve seen by marking them “been there.”
Cost: There is an initial cost of $2.99, which includes one region of the US or Canada. Each additional region costs $1.99, or purchase all available regions for $5.99.

One last addition that isn’t an app but was highly recommended by several members is FreeCampsites.net. As one member says, “I bought a couple camping apps but none were as good as freecampsites.net for finding the best places to camp.” According to another member, “It saved us multiple times on our trip!”
Have fun using these road trip apps (and maybe this playlist) on your next adventure! If we missed a travel app that you love, please share it in the comments below.
By Brittany Quaglieri with help from the Budget-Minded Traveler Community. Join now and contribute to the next community post!