11 Best Road Trip Apps to Help You Plan Your Next Journey

Technology has revolutionized the way we travel in countless ways. Paper maps and GPS navigation systems have been replaced by Google and Apple Maps, old-school CDs by music streaming services, and guidebooks by apps that can notify road-trippers of roadside attractions in real time. One thing is certain: The smartphone has made road trips infinitely easier and, arguably, cheaper.

Whether you need a digital road trip planner to help you map out your next journey or an app that leads you around — not through — traffic jams, these apps have you covered.

Here are the best road trip apps to download ASAP ahead of your next adventure.

1. Roadtrippers

Roadtrippers is one of the most practical and popular road trip planning apps out there. You can plan your journey right in the app, adding up to seven waypoints for free or 150 with a Roadtrippers Plus account. You can collaborate with friends or family and discover all the best stops along your route. Maybe you want to see national parks or the quirkiest roadside attractions. Perhaps you want to stop for the night at an iconic or underrated hotel. The app features lodging, sights, outdoorsy destinations, restaurants, activities, shopping, fuel, and more all around the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and beyond.

The app is free, but to enjoy all the bells and whistles, you’ll want to upgrade to premium for $29.99 a year. It’s available on iOS and Android.

2. Google Maps

Every road-tripper needs a trusty navigation app in their arsenal, and Google Maps reigns supreme in that category. One survey found that it’s six times more popular than any other navigation app. Its dominance can be attributed to the comprehensiveness of its data and its attention to detail, which allow it to generate the very best directions based on distance, road conditions, and traffic patterns.

Google Maps gives you route options and provides accurate estimates of how long it takes to get from A to B. Plus, you can plot several waypoints along your route — be it a mid-morning coffee stop or a highly rated hotel for overnighting (you can see reviews right in the app).

Google Maps is free and available on iOS and Android.

3. Waze

The same survey that found Google Maps to be the most popular navigation app found Waze to be the second most popular. With real-time updates that help you avoid traffic jams, construction, and more, the app will have you navigating new cities and unfamiliar streets like a seasoned local. It’s perhaps a little more proactive than Google Maps in changing up a route when problems arise, and that means Waze users should prepare for their drive to be a little windy.

No one wants to spend hours sitting in traffic instead of exploring, so the fact that Waze collects data from other drivers to streamline the driving experience is a huge help. The app is free and available on iOS and Android.

4. GasBuddy

Paying for fuel can eat up a good chunk of your road trip budget, but GasBuddy can save you a few bucks. The app crowdsources up-to-date fuel prices for more than 150,000 gas stations around the U.S. and Canada. The app also tells you how recent the submission is so you know when it’s outdated.

The app is not just helpful for finding cheap gas but also for finding gas stations in general (and parking), which can alone be difficult in foreign territory. The app is free and can be downloaded on iOS and Android. While using it, be a good road-tripper and submit gas prices you see as you travel.

5. Roadside America

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The offbeat and kitschy roadside attractions you can find throughout the U.S. are one of the most delightful parts of a road trip. The Roadside America app helps you find the most unique attractions worth stopping for, like the large sculpture of a cartoon mouse holding a cheese platter in Plain, Wisconsin — where else? — or the decidedly odd larger-than-life-sized three-way electrical plug that rests on a lawn in Philadelphia. The app features museums, murals, tours, quirky restaurants, and other photo ops, too.

Roadside America costs $2.99 to download, and you can make extra in-app purchases. It’s available only on iOS.

6. iExit Interstate Exit Guide

Knowing where to stop for road trip snacks, a drive-thru latte, or a public restroom can be challenging with all the exit signs whizzing by at 70 mph, but iExit Interstate Exit Guide takes the guesswork out of it. The app will list which exits are coming up on your route, what’s there, and what they offer — including food, lodging, fuel, and even hospitals. It pulls fuel prices from OPIS (Oil Price Information Service) and displays Yelp reviews for businesses.

The app is free to download. Find it on both iOS and Android.

7. HotelTonight

Even if you’ve planned out all your stops ahead of time, you might find that you need to pull over for a night unexpectedly. Driving is tiring, after all, and unplanned naps can be life-saving. HotelTonight can help you find accommodation in a pinch. The app is able to offer day-of deals on unsold rooms, and the user-friendly interface means you can book a discounted room in minutes. There are well over 1,000 properties to choose from in cities all over the world, from Mexico City to Jakarta (in case you happen take your road-tripping global).

It’s free to download and available on iOS and Android.

8. Airbnb

If staying in a tucked-away A-frame cabin, a yurt, or a private guest house in someone’s garden is more your travel style than bouncing between hotels, then Airbnb is the ticket. On the Airbnb app, you can search properties (more than 600,000 in the U.S. alone) on a map and read reviews before you book, which you can do in advance or last minute.

The app features not just vacation homes but also experiences, so if you’re keen to stop and experience a city like a local you can do so via a pottery class, say, or a guided walking tour.

The Airbnb app is free. You can download it on iOS or Android.

9. The Dyrt

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If camping out under the stars is more your speed, you’ll absolutely want to download The Dyrt, a free app that helps you find tent, RV, and cabin sites across the U.S. It’s the No. 1 camping app on iOS (though it’s also available for Android) and has more than a million registered users. These users submit reviews, pictures, and tips, so you get real intel on campsites and a built-in community that makes camping on a road trip especially fun and safe. You can even book some of the campsites right on The Dyrt.

The app is free, but there’s a premium version — for $35.99 per year — that allows you to plan trips and search campsites while offline, convenient for remote regions.

10. Spotify

What is a road trip without a perfect road trip playlist? Whether you’re keen to create a soundtrack of nostalgic singalongs, modern pop songs, or location-specific music, you’ll find even the most obscure tunes on Spotify, a catalogue of more than 80 million tracks. When you tire of Taylor Swift classics and the like, you can turn to podcasts to keep you company. Road trips are a great opportunity to delve into a docuseries like Serial, an all-time favorite.

Spotify is free to download and listen to, but the ad breaks are annoying and streaming can chew through your phone data. A better option is to purchase a premium membership for $9.99 a month. It’s ad-free and you can download music to listen to offline. The Spotify app is available on iPhone and Android.

11. PlugShare

Electric vehicles are increasingly commonplace and great for more environmentally friendly road tripping. The problem is often finding charging stations, as most EVs can go 100 to 300 miles before they need to be plugged in. PlugShare claims to be the world’s most popular charging station finder, probably true considering it lists 610,000 charging stations across North America, Europe, and beyond. Users share their reviews of the stations, helping to guide EV drivers to the best, fastest, and most reliable of the bunch.

PlugShare is free and available to download on iOS and Android.