My very first grown-up car was a black Geo Tracker. At the time, many of my car snob friends accused my new convertible ride of being a “toy” car. To me, however, that little black box on wheels was the ultimate road tripping car and it quickly came to signify freedom. Cruising with the top down, that little Tracker carried me and my friends to many places, firmly planting road trips as my favorite method of travel for years to come.
Of course, there were no apps for road trips back then. Those were simpler times and really, all you needed to make traveling on the road a success was a Big Gulp and some good eighties music. Of course, today, decades later and more technologically dependent, I’d most likely get lost in my own neighborhood if I didn’t have an “app for that.”
I’ve already listed my Five Best Road Trip Apps in an earlier post, but with so many apps coming out on the market, why limit ourselves to just five? For your next trip, don’t leave home without these handy apps for road trips:
1. Travel Storys GPS App is a great tool for information-hungry road trippers. While enjoying the surrounding beauty of national parks and landmarks, Travel Storys allows visitors to listen to a GPS-enabled audio tour of the local history, ecology, and geology. The technology is synched with the surrounding landscape and as you drive, you can listen to some interesting information about the local area along with some beautiful tales of historic events and sites. Available for iPhone and Android. Free.
2. Road Trippers is a great app for those curious and adventurous road trippers. This app helps you discover and navigate to over 60,000 awesomely unique and independent places all around the U.S.A. (OnTheWay is a good one for international travel.) With an extensive list of under-the-radar spots like drive-ins, quirky landmarks and hotels, film and tv sites and hidden scenic points of interest, Road Trippers has got all the information needed to make your next road trip chock full of interesting information. Available for iPhone. Free.
3. Family Car Games is perfect for those family road trips that, as most of us know, tend to be filled with extreme highs and lows. For those moments when, “mom, Joey’s hitting me” is about to turn into a tear-filled nuclear car scuffle, this game app is perfect for passing the time peacefully. Thankfully, the app offers instructions for over 100 games you can play on the road. There is no equipment necessary and all games can be sorted by age, difficulty, type of game, etc. I suggest “Inky Pinky” or “Grandma is so Weird.” Available for iPod touch and iPad. $1.99.
4. EHU is not the most exciting app, but if you’re on a camping trip, it would be a big mistake not to use this useful tool. Designed for campers and caravanners, EHU allows you to keep track of the electrical output of your various electrical gadgets so you can avoid overloading the circuit. It requires a bit of set up beforehand, but the resulting peace of mind knowing that you won’t blow the circuit is really worth it! Available for iPhone. Free.
5. Best Parking is the app for finding nearby parking options. And while there are many parking apps on the market, this one really leads the pack thanks to its helpful information included in the search for parking assistance for over 100 cities and 115 airports. Not only does Best Parking lead you to the nearest parking lot, but it can help you find the best rates available and often lists daily parking discounts. Available for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android and Blackberry. Free.
Need an app for getting there? Check out all of our Top App Reviews for the active boomer traveler!
Do you have favorite apps for road trips to add to our list? We hope you’ll share them with us in the comments.
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.