THESE ARE THE 7 BEST APPS TO DOWNLOAD BEFORE YOU HEAD OUT ON YOUR NEXT ROAD TRIP ADVENTURE. THEY INCLUDE EVERYTHING FROM HOW TO PLAN THE PERFECT ADVENTURE TO HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON THE ROAD.
There are very few things more exciting than hitting the open road. The possibilities, adventures and destinations are truly endless. But, while road trips are by far one of our favorite ways to explore a new place, we also understand that they can be stressful - especially when it comes to planning.
Luckily, nowadays, there are tons of services and apps out there to help you plan the perfect road trip; including, apps to help you find awesome spots to stay, places to adventure and even where to find the cheapest gas along your road trip route.
Below are 7 of the best road trip apps to download before you hit the open road on your next grand adventure.
THE 7 BEST APPS FOR ROAD TRIP ADVENTURES
1 | iOverlander
This is definitely one of our go-to road trip apps since it is super easy to use and has a ton of awesome information on finding free campsites across the USA (and even some international sites).
In fact, many of our favorite campsites we have stayed at while road tripping have come from scouring iOverlander (which though basic, has a lot to offer). We suggest downloading this app before setting out on your road trip and then searching for a couple of sites (and maybe saving their location) while you have good service. This is especially useful if you know you are going to be road tripping in more remote location (i.e. southwest Utah).
You can search the iOverlander app here.
2 | FreeRoam
This camping app, though very similar to iOverlander, is definitely geared more towards people who need to know specific things about the free campsites they are looking to stay at; including, information on cell services, the upcoming weather forecast (something that is definitely useful to know when road tripping), and seasonal info (like average level of fullness - i.e. how many people will likely be there).
This road trip app also shows useful information on things like the amount of noise, overall safety, and even how clean the sites usually are. Finally, like iOverlander, FreeRoam has an interactive map with info on the closest services like where to find potable water, where to refill your propane containers and even where to dump stations (perfect for if you are road tripping in an RV).
You can check out FreeRoam - and find your own free campsite - here.
3 | Hipcamp
While iOverlander and FreeRoam definitely focus more on showing free camping spots, Hipcamp focuses more on offering unique and fun stays. From desert safari tents to high mountain tiny homes, you can find pretty much any type of lodging on their easy-to-use website. Plus, they showcase a ton of really cool sites near many national parks (including popular parks like Yosemite and Rocky Mountain National Park).
One of the key things to know about using Hipcamp while road tripping is that you do likely need to book a stay ahead of time (meaning some pre-planning is necessary). This is because all of the sites are located on private land and therefore the owners (hosts) need to make sure the spot is available and ready to go for when you drive up. We recommend searching their catalogue a couple of weeks (maybe even months during the busy season) ahead of your road trip departure date and booking a night or two. This will not only give you the opportunity to stay in some super cool spots, but it will also give you the chance to talk to some locals who know the area like the back of their hand (this is the best way to find those awesome hidden gems while road tripping).
Free to use the app, but many of the Hipcamp sites cost $20+ per night.
Search the entire Hipcamp catalogue here.
4 | Maps.me
We were lucky enough to meet a super friendly girl while traveling through Ecuador who showed us this app, and our lives have not been the same since.
Quite similar to Google Maps in terms of layout, Maps.me just has a lot more information available, especially when it comes to searching for outdoor trails, beautiful viewpoints, coffee shops, and even mountain peaks. But really the BEST thing about this road trip app is that you can download individual maps so that they are 100% available - even when you are offline (like when you are off hiking way back in the woods or road tripping in the middle of the desert).
We have used Maps.me so many times when out adventuring. Including, while out hiking in the mountains, trail running in the desert and even when we were way out in the middle of nowhere New Mexico and needed to know which dirt road to take while on our motorcycle road trip. We highly suggest checking this road trip app out if you are like us and are looking to explore some backroads while out road tripping.
Free! Though you do need to download all maps beforehand (so you can view them offline).
5 | Alltrails
If you want to combine adventure with your road trip route, then definitely download the app Alltrails. This easy to use app, shows all of the best hiking, backpacking and running trails (plus many other outdoor activities) in the area - perfect for when you are planning to make some pit stops along your road trip route. We suggest doing a quick search of the best trails in your area (this is a great way to find some hidden gems) or searching for trails in the destination you are planning to visit.
Some other great features of this adventure app are the accessibility and filter feature (you can search for whatever activity you want, plus the difficulty and length), the ability to track your location on a map and also the ability to track how long you have been going for (time), the total distance, your pace and the overall elevation gained.
Free! Though there is a paid version (Pro) that allows you to download offline maps, send your location to family (in case of emergency), check air quality and weather, and view 3D maps.
You can check out Alltrails for yourself here.
6 | GasBuddy
Maybe one of the biggest drawbacks of road tripping is the amount of gas you actually need to buy (this is especially true if you are overlanding in a big vehicle, like, say a van). Luckily, there are a few ways to save a bit of money when filling up the tank - including using the road trip app GasBuddy, which focuses solely on showing you where to find the cheapest gas. The only drawback to this app? About 90% of the time, the cheapest gas is not right next to the highway.
We suggest getting this app if you are someone who is trying to road trip as cheaply as possible and/or if you don't mind going a bit out of your way to find the most affordable gasoline.
You can search for the cheapest gas on the GasBuddy app or on their website.
7 | Roadtrippers
Maybe one of the coolest road trip planning apps out there (and likely the best road trip planner app on the market), Roadtrippers really focuses on showing you the nitty-gritty of road tripping. Including, giving you necessary information on the expected price of the trip (though this is definitely more of an estimate than a hard amount), the coolest roadside attractions and adventures along your route, and even the best destinations along the way.
This helpful app has two different options for road trip planning: putting in a specific route (i.e. from Point A to Point B) or just exploring a specific area (like a state or city). We tend to use the first option and then search along our basic "set" route to find interesting destinations and off-the-beaten-path locations.
❔ GOOD TO KNOW: while Roadtrippers is totally free to use, they do offer Roadtrippers Plus, which is a more in-depth service that offers extras like the ability to plan really long road trips (up to 150 stops), collaborate with friends, store your planned road trip route offline and even get live traffic updates. This updated version costs $29.99 a year (if you are interested, use our code - BTR5QTP - for $5 off your purchase).
The regular version is free, while the Pro version is roughly $30 a year (or $25 when you use our promo code BTR5QTP).
Ready to start planning your next big road trip adventure? Then check out the Roadtrippers site here.
These 7 road trip apps have definitely helped us step-up our road-tripping game, from finding better camping spots for the night to just getting a better idea of the cool things to see and do in the area. So if you are planning to hit the open road and head out on a grand road trip adventure, then we highly recommend downloading these 7 apps yourself!
Let us know in the comments what your dream road trip looks like. And if you have any questions, please let us know below or reach out to us directly.
Now let's get exploring!