If you’re headed out on a road trip this summer (or any time), apps can make the difference between a fun-filled journey versus a sanity-testing ordeal. Keeping everyone entertained and informed brings a new dimension to your travel.
Apps can help you discover local gems, hidden attractions, and the best places to eat, refuel and rest. You never have to worry about getting lost, finding a place to park or becoming bored when you have apps at the ready. As you’re packing your suitcase, be sure to download these apps to make the most of your trip.
Use navigation apps to avoid traffic jams and find the best way to get to your destination. Whether you want to take the most direct route or meander along to discover quirky attractions, apps can be fantastic travel companions
Google Maps is the go-to app for navigating your way from Point A to Point B. See Live Traffic, Google Earth and Satellite views to get an idea of where you’re going and the best way to get there. Listen to turn-by-turn voice instructions to guide you as you’re driving.
You can get directions by car, walking, public transit and bicycle routes. An update to Google Maps for Android will even show you the elevation for your bicycle route.
Learn about using Google Maps from this helpful video:
Helpful hints for using Google Maps:
=> The app can figure out where you are if you get completely befuddled. Press the arrow icon to see your current location.
=> Sign into the app with your Google account to save favorite places and remember your home and work addresses.
=> You can download maps to use offline when you’re away from the Internet or traveling in a foreign country.
=> Search “ev charging stations” to see where to recharge electric vehicles.
Download Google Maps for free for:
No matter who is party to your road trip fun, you’ll all enjoy Geocaching. Hidden treasures are located around the world, ready for you to discover them! According to geocaching.com, there currently are 2,450,766 active caches hidden all over the world.
With the Geocaching app you can get clues to help you find the treasures and see the general location of caches on a map. Each cache is rated by level of difficulty, be sure to start with the easiest ones first.
Learn more about Geocaching from this helpful video:
I’ve been Geocaching with friends from 8 to 80 years old and have always had a fun time! You don’t even need to be on a road trip to have fun Geocaching. Chances are you can find caches close to home.
The Geocaching app is available free for:
☛ Read the full review of Geocaching at: Geocaching: Your Real Life Treasure Hunt!
If you have children in the car for your road trips, apps will be your best ally. Use apps to entertain and educate the kids to avoid the whining, “Are We There Yet?” Many of these apps are fun for adults too!
☛ Also see, Fun Apps to Entertain (and Educate) Your Child
Check out Scrabble which kids can play alone vs. the device, with others in the car or online with others. Your children are bound to improve their vocabulary with words from “aa” to “za”.
The Scrabble app is free for:
Peggle has been named one of the top 5 most addictive games for good reason. This fun app lets you clear orange pegs from boards while avoiding hazards and using special powers. Play in one of four game modes and tackle Grand Master Challenges. You can even record and replay your best shots!
Peggle is available for:
☛ My full review of Peggle: Peggle: Take a Chance on a PopCap Game!
Flow Free is a puzzle app with enough levels to adapt to any player. Figure out how your colored pipes can flow from Point A to Point B without intersecting. The more pipes you have to connect, the more difficult the game.
This video shows you how Flow Free works:
Flow Free is available free for:
☛ For more puzzle app ideas see, 6 Super Fun Puzzle Apps to Stimulate Your Brain!
Mystery Math Town
Sharpen your child’s math skills with Mystery Math Town, a fun app that requires your child to solve math problems to unlock rooms in a mystery house.
The app teaches addition, subtraction, and multiplication and can be set to different skill levels.
This video shows how Mystery Math Town helps teach math skills with fun:
Mystery Math Town is available for the is available for iPad for $2.99 in the iTunes App Store.
☛ My full review of Mystery Math Town: Mystery Math Town – Take the Mystery out of Math!
Bible ABCs for Kids
Bible ABCs for Kids can teach your children how to write letters while introducing them to stories from the Bible. This new app lets your child trace both upper and lower case letters. Each letter is connected to a person from the Bible.
This video shows Bible ABC for kids in action:
Bible ABC for Kids is available for the iPad free for the first seven letters of the alphabet: Bible ABC for Kids Free. If you like the app, you can get the entire alphabet app for $2.99: Bible ABC for Kids
Use audiobooks to engage the entire family in the magic of a story to make the miles fly by. Your family can listen to an audiobook while still enjoying the passing scenery.
Check out audiobooks from subscription service Tales2Go or get individual audiobooks from Audible.
☛ See my full reviews:
You can also download free audiobooks from Audiobooksforfree.com. Although it isn’t an app, this website can provide enough free audiobooks to last for any road trip.
Check out the Children’s section or look for topics such as:
You can search by time according to how long your trip is. Choose from free audiobooks ranging from 1 minute to 55 hours. Download as many as you wish for free!
Give your children incentive to behave on your road trip by using iRewardChart. Let them earn stars for good behavior and helping out. Based on their ages you can give kids stars for basic behavior such as No Whining to extra special tasks such as changing a flat tire!
Reward the child with the most stars with incentives such as getting to pick the restaurant where you stop for lunch.
This video shows how iRewardChart works to give your children incentive to behave well:
☛ See The Best App Ever! for my full review of iRewardChart.
Discovering the Best Places
When you’re on a road trip, finding the closest and/or best places to visit is easier with apps. Check out these apps to make the most of your journey:
This free app from Google shows you the most interesting places around, including restaurants, hotels, attractions, museums and historical sites. Field Trip can even alert you when you’re close to a place of interest.
Check out this video showing you Field Trip in action:
Field Trip is free for:
☛ My full review of Field Trip can be read here: Field Trip – Discover the World Around You!
If you’re traveling on the highway, you may need to know where the closest restaurants, hotels and other attractions are at the closest exit. Who cares if a restaurant is only a mile away if you just missed the exit for it!
iExit figures out when you’re driving on a highway and what facilities and attractions are available at the next few exits. You can even set how far you’re willing to travel off of the highway to get to a destination.
This video shows how iExit works:
iExit has recently been updated for iOS to include more highways and is available free for the rest of 2014:
☛ My full review of iExit: Road Trip? iExit Is Your Must-Have App!
Spend less money on gas, giving you more money to enjoy your trip with GasBuddy. This free app shows you the best gas prices and closest gas stations along your route. You can also report gas prices for a chance to win $100!
GasBuddy is free for:
☛ My full review of GasBuddy: 6 Reasons to Love Gasbuddy, Your Friend for Lower Gas Prices!
Waterkeeper Swim Guide
Your road trip may take you near wonderful beaches. Find out where the closest beaches are and learn about parking, life guard coverage and rest room availability. You can also see pollution reports to make sure the beach you’re heading to is clean.
Waterkeeper Swim Guide is available free for:
☛ My full review of Waterkeeper Swim Guide can be found in: 7 Awesome Apps to Take to the Beach!
Have you used any of these apps to make your road trips more fun? Do you have any apps you would add to this list? What are your must-have apps for road trips? Let us know in the Comments section below!
** Car on Map image by Zela at rgbstock.com