Summer is here, which means it's also road trip season. Get the car gassed up, grab some great friends, and make sure your smartphone is always riding shotgun.
Thanks to a number of Android and iOS apps that can help you handle everything from planning to navigation, you'll never have to worry about getting lost, becoming bored, or driving without a great food destination in mind.
Here are 10 of the best apps to download before hitting the open road.
This app is both fun and practical. It gives you directions to nearby gas stations, campsites, national parks, and roadside attractions. Within the app, you can map out your own itinerary or download a premade one. Read about destinations and connect with other road trippers that are on the same route as you.
There's nothing worse than pulling up to a tollbooth without enough cash. Tollsmart prevents this annoyance by quickly finding the price of all toll bridges, roadways, and tunnels from your starting point all the way to your destination. It also allows you to create a profile for your vehicle so you’ll be able to calculate the proper toll rate. Bonus: It even supports various transponder-based systems like E-ZPass.
Whether you're on a highway in a well-populated area or on a freeway in the desert, this app will definitely come in handy. With this handy tool, you can find the cheapest gas nearby and calculate the entire cost of gas on your trip.
No road trip is complete without a great playlist. Keep the tunes fresh (no repeats here) by hooking your phone up to your car's stereo. If you opt for the free version, expect to hear ads and not have as much control over song selection (which can be an adventure in itself). Upgrading to premium means you can skip as many songs as you want and enjoy ad-free music. The best part, though? You can still listen to your music when there’s no cell coverage.
Then again, if you’re spending more than a few hours on the road, eventually, you’ll want something other than music on the stereo. Podcast Addict manages your subscriptions, and since there are podcasts on pretty much every subject, you’re bound to find something everyone will enjoy.
An overnight drive can sound exciting, but if you don't make it all the way through, we won't judge you. Score a last-minute deal on a hotel when coffee stops working. The app gives you directions straight to your lodging and saves you from paying double just because it’s a late booking.
Then again, if you want a truly unique (and more affordable) accommodation experience, hostels are for you. They're not just for college students studying abroad anymore. Hostelworld lets your browse offerings in your destination and will filter the results for your specific preferences (private room, queen bed, etc.).
This app is worthwhile for many reasons. In addition to booking a place to stay on your road trip, Airbnb now offers city guides that are written by savvy locals. There are workshops and other experience that you can book, cool audio walking guides, and hosted meet-ups with fellow travelers.
If you consider yourself a foodie, then you should be downloading this right now. The app gives you the best recommendations for restaurants and even goes as far as letting you know what specific dishes are must-haves. If you don’t mind paying for extra-fine-dining ,then ChefsFeed will never steer you wrong.
However, if you're not looking to spend a lot of money, road tripping can easily mean greasy, roadside fare. With the HappyCow app, though, it's easy to find delicious and good-for-you food. It helps you find nearby vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants. Search by diet restriction or by the type of food you’re in the mood for.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a friend and your phone — by our accounts, that's all you really need.