8 Awesome Apps for Your Summer Road Trip
School is out. Warm weather is in. The car is packed. Yes, indeed, it’s time for the annual summer vacation, whether that’s with family or friends. No two words exemplify the great American vacation experience more than “road trip!”
But we’ve all experienced a bad car ride at some point—the screaming from the backseat, nothing to eat but a soggy old sandwich, no gas stations in sight or the endless miles laid out in front of us as we strive for our final destination.
With these eight apps, your summer road trip will be one to remember and more enjoyable for the whole gang of friends or family, rather than a scene from National Lampoon’s Vacation.
From AAA, the gold standard for American automotive travel, comes this super handy travel app that’s packed with features.
List your destination into the travel log, or let the Co-Pilot feature guide you to nearby hotels, restaurants, gas stations and AAA locations. AAA TripTik Mobile makes traveling easy, fun and informative. You can even use it to visit the local tourist attractions along the way.
Now you can answer that ever-present, nagging question, "Are we there yet?" with a precise answer. (Free for iPhone)
Peanut butter and jelly. Stamps and envelopes. Jack and Jill. Few things are as inseparable as road trips and games.
The Road Trip Fun app offers a list of 29 games (some we promise you’ve never heard of before) and how-to guides on how to play them. We guarantee that after you use the game-filled app, you’ll be closer to your final destination, and you’ll know a little more about the people you’re traveling with. ($0.99 for iPhone)
After 16 hours of alternating driving duties with your co-pilot, it’s time to rest for the night. This app from HotelByMe.com is a little gem, and one that you won’t want to travel without. Not only does it find hotels by you (yep, the name is quite accurate) but it will find hotels anywhere you search. And once you find them, that’s when the app really shines.
All the pertinent information is clearly displayed and easy to navigate. You can book your hotel room from the app, or you can call in, search by hotel name, look up local favorites, even find recent reservations. No matter the method, HotelByMe will get the whole carload of travelers tucked in safe and sound. (Free for Android and iPhone)
This educational app will shed new light on each state you drive through.
Many apps claim to be great teaching tools, but this one actually delivers for the whole road-trip gang. Launch and learn, as state facts and historical information about each state, the Declaration of Independence and all of the signees is right at your fingertips. You can discover the official bird, song and flower of a state; the origin of its name; or even famous people who were born in the area.
The little ones in the backseat won’t be the only ones learning something new. (Free for iPhone)
Maybe you’re entering a stretch of open highway only surrounded by the barren desert, maybe your kids are crying to make a pit stop, or maybe you're approaching the last tenth of your tank. If you’re not sure where the nearest gas station is, just launch GasBuddy.
GasBuddy will locate the nearest stations to your current location, or you can type in a specific city or zip code. In addition to displaying a station’s distance from you, it’ll also show how much it’ll cost you to fuel up. It may be worth it to drive that extra mile. (Free for Android and iPhone)
Say good-bye to those lame jokes, boring stories and repeated “99 Bottles of (Cola) on the Wall” songs.You need some new and amusing entertainment your passengers can read aloud to make the long trip to the Grand Canyon seem a bit more bearable.
Reader’s Digest Jokes & Funny True Stories is absolutely loaded with charming, family-friendly nuggets of narrative, ranging in topic from animals to work, silly signs to marriage and military to senior moments. That’s it. No super-power features here. But this app is crucial for some good, old (PG-rated) fun. (Free for iPhone)
When you’re traveling in any unknown land, it’s always helpful to have a trusty local search app with you. YPMobile is a good one. Though you can search for a variety of businesses around your GPS location (from movie theaters, banks and Wi-Fi hotspots), we’re thinking you’ll most likely use this travel companion to fuel your stomaches.
YPMobile lets you search for restaurants based on cuisine type. Got a long list to choose from? Narrow your pick down by looking through reviews, prices or hours or operation. (Free for Android and iPhone)
Strictly for the 21 and over crowd, Find Pubs & Bars is a visual, informative and straightforward app that allows you to discover a spot where you can enjoy a cold one with the locals after your driving is done.
Touch the pint glass or martini icon and pick a spot that suits you in your immediate area, or punch in the address of your final destination and get that list. Enjoy responsibly! (Free for Android and iPhone)