My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Five Best Apps for Road Trips

2013/03/14by Nicole

Best Road Trip Apps

Italian Station Wagon?

In my younger days, road trips meant freedom and the joy of the unexpected. Just hearing those two simple words, “road trip” would have me fluttering with excitement and quietly singing the ultimate road trip song, “Born to Be Wild”.

♫ Get your motor running,
Head out on the highway,
Looking for some danger,
And take whatever comes our way♫

It’s amazing how times change, isn’t it? Of course, I’m not saying I don’t like a bit of excitement once in a while; but these days I’m never, ever looking for “some danger” and I’m certainly not going to just “take whatever comes our way”. Nowadays, I don’t have to—there’s an App for that!

As much as I like a good spontaneous adventure now and then, I’m a meticulous planner at heart and always like to know exactly what the roads have in store for me on any trip, whether a quick weekend jaunt or a long car journey. Yes, that’s right, I still want to get my motor running and head out on the highway, but I’ll be foregoing any danger and unforeseen events thanks very much to my favorite road trip Apps.

These days, there are probably thousands of Apps that are designed to make our road trips not only safer and more efficient, but also affordable. Apps are there to take the unforeseen issues out of the way so you can enjoy a nice trip without having to worry about getting ripped off at the next gas station or missing some great tourist attraction that’s hidden just 10 minutes off the next exit. To make the most out of your next road journey, here are five Apps that are indispensible for any road warrior.

1. Budget Travel Ultimate Road Trip App

As the name suggest, this Road Trip App is probably one of the most useful Apps for planning a car journey. Not only does it offer a world of potential trajectory options from awe-inspiring coastal routes to best country roads less-traveled, it also lists the closest places to rest your weary head, where to eat and many other helpful options, including GPS. When it comes to road trip assistance, this one can’t be beat. (iPhone and Android)

2. iExit

Never miss an exit again! iExit is the must have accessory for those who, like me, are “exit challenged” sometimes and need a good bit of warning beforehand. Those suckers really do sneak up on you, don’t they? (iPhone only)

3. Roadside America App

If there’s any two words besides “road trip” that can get my motor running its “roadside oddities”. Yes, Roadside American App alerts you to not only the most popular road side attractions like farmer markets or shopping outlets, but various “roadside oddities” that only true road runners can enjoy. I’m guessing it lists anything from the World’s Largest Hog in Dothan, Alabama to the World’s Largest Spinach Can in Alma, Arkansas. On top of that, this App gives you opening hours, entry prices and directions to all the road side sites in the U.S. You’ll never miss that giant ball of twine again! (iPhone only)

4. Gas Buddy

Now that you’ve got your directions, your exit strategy and your roadside oddities, let’s talk about everyone’s favourite money saving App, Gas Buddy. Yes, as many road trippers can attest, this is the ultimate App for those looking to save a few bucks. Gas Buddy lets you compare gas prices anywhere on the map, showing you the cheapest gas station in your area. (Android and iPhone)

5. Behind the Wheel

As any road warrior knows, safety is the priority when driving. Whether you’re on a solo drive or carting around your entire family, safety comes first. And as more and more of us are magnetically drawn to our smartphones, we tend to forget that it is imperative not to pick it up while driving. Behind the Wheel is a great way to resist the urge to answer an incoming call while driving. Once an incoming message is received, Behind the Wheel has an auto responder that sends a message to that person that you are currently driving and will respond later. (Android only)

Best Road Trip Apps

Me in my rented mini

While there are many Apps to choose from in our modern-day traveler’s world, these five road trip Apps are the best of the bunch as far as travel efficiency, driver safety, and affordability go. What about you? Any road trip Apps you’d like to add to this list?

Need an app for getting there? Check out all of our Top App Reviews for the active boomer traveler!

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Presently living in Madrid, Nicole enjoys the guilty pleasure of forcing her cute Spanish husband to take her to various European cities in order to explore beautiful cities, profound history, and distinct cultures that can be found throughout Europe. Her travel articles and photos have been published in various publications as well as her own blog, Pass the Ham. And of course, she's currently enjoying her new post as assistant editor at My Itchy Travel Feet.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Mette - Italian Notes March 17, 2013 at 4:01 am

Going on a road trip through Italy next week, but never thought to use apps. Perhaps I should give it a try provided the roaming charges are acceptable.
Mette – Italian Notes recently posted..Abruzzo national parks: Castles and pasturesMy Profile

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Jane Boursaw
Twitter:
March 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm

I use gas buddy! That thing is so amazing – I rarely ever get gas without checking the local stations to see who’s cheapest. Great list. I’ll check out the others.
Jane Boursaw recently posted..Is Oz the Great and Powerful a Really Sexist Movie?My Profile

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Roxanne
Twitter:
March 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Three cheers for exit help. They totally DO sneak up on me sometimes. Hope you enjoyed the Mini. I drive one (for real), and it’s a hoot!

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MyKidsEatSquid March 18, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Maybe it goes without saying, but I find the Weather Channel app helpful when we’re on the road–knowing what the weather will be like helps me plan what to pack and even pick a different travel route if I see there’s bad weather on our route.
MyKidsEatSquid recently posted..5 Ways to get your kids to go greenMy Profile

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Kenin Bassart
Twitter:
March 19, 2013 at 11:30 am

I use Gas Buddy all the time! Both at home and while on road trips. When we were in Alaksa there were times where using Gas Buddy saved me over $.10 a gallon!
Kenin Bassart recently posted..Roadside Attractions: Hawthorne Ordnance Museum NevadaMy Profile

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Alisa Bowman March 19, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Very cool to know. Gas buddy could have helped me in the past a million times over.

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Melanie March 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Great list. I especially love the Behind the Wheel app idea.
Melanie recently posted..Sugar News That Shocked My Pants OffMy Profile

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HeatherL
Twitter:
March 22, 2013 at 8:53 am

What a great selection of travel apps. I’m printing this out and keeping it in my suitcase for reference.
HeatherL recently posted..White Pass Stages a Winter CarnivalMy Profile

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Scott Jones March 23, 2013 at 2:23 pm

RoadsideAmerica is a go-to app for me and travel. However, Evernote still takes the cake for me—it’s where I store all of the trip information, itineraries, hours/prices, and nuggets of info gleaned before the trip. Then, it’s also the place I store trip notes, summaries, as well as lists of future travel ideas.

While I’m on the road, I also find myself gravitating towards social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and Foursquare as I share my journeys with friends and family. And of course, apps like Priceline, Airbnb, and couchsurfing for finding the best places to lay my head.

Finally, what’s a roadtrip without maps? I swap between Apple Maps, Google Maps, and the amazing Maplets during my travels.

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Donna Hull
Twitter:
March 23, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Thanks for commenting, Scott. I’m a big fan of Evernote as well.
Donna Hull recently posted..Hawaii: The Big Island, a Trailblazer Guide for planning your tripMy Profile

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Michael
Twitter:
March 26, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Great list for road trip maps. I just drove San Francisco to Boulder by way of Death Valley — hell of scenic drive. Definitely could have used a few of these apps seeing as I got lost a few times and missed a few exits. Check out the pics my site of Death Valley. They are otherworldly.
Michael recently posted..Death Valley: The Hottest Spot on EarthMy Profile

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Tim H November 19, 2013 at 7:36 am

I’m planning a cross country road trip soon. However, traveling through Canada, and not having an iPhone, limits the amount of apps that are useful. Thanks for sharing this list.
Tim H recently posted..Killing Bunnies to Reach the Kariba Bush ClubMy Profile

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