When you’re traveling on the road, it’s always nice to have some extra support from an app or two– whether it’s to snap up a free camping spot, find a rest stop or play your favorite tunes during a long drive. Here are 10 you’ll find handy for your next big trip!
Note: we’re not getting paid to endorse any of these apps– we just think you should know about them because they’re rad.
Accommodations + Basics
If you’re looking for free camping, this resource is a classic. FreeCampsites.net is a no-frills, fairly comprehensive guide for public camping, such as BLM and local back roads that allow overnight camping. This resource also shows paid camping, and includes crowd-soured reviews for each location. The “app” itself is really just a shortcut to the web-based platform, so don’t expect anything fancy, but it’s a free, reliable resource worth having at your side.
We use Park Advisor on the go often in conjunction with FreeCampsites.net to find the best free camping possible. Park Advisor shows free/public camping as well as other resources, like rest stops and water fill-ups/dump sites. This app also designates every known Walmart and notes whether overnight camping is allowed there or not– very useful when you’re trying to rack up some miles at night and need to take a break. This app is free for use.
GasBuddy will help you find the cheapest gas close to you, which is very helpful when you’re pinching pennies. Using crowd-sourced verification to keep a tab on gas prices, I have personally yet to come across a time when the prices listed on the app are different from what the station is charging. Free app, great for gas savings– it’s a win-win.
Activities + Outdoor Recreation
We just found out about REI’s Adventure Project Apps and they have changed how we explore! These apps show the stats you care about for different routes and will help guide you through a new trail with relative ease. There are different specialized apps for climbing, hiking, biking, trail running, and back country skiing– as well as a National Parks guide app. These apps are all FREE so download without guilt!
If you’re into yoga, or just need a good stretch after a long drive, then you can get your flow on with Down Dog App. This is a well-designed, engaging resource for you to have a different yoga experience every time you practice– and you can do it anywhere thanks to offline practices. Creating your own yoga experience is easy: decide what kind of practice you’d like to do and for how long (anywhere from 10-70 minutes), select your experience level– and you have a guided practice queued up and ready to go! For a small yearly subscription, this app is completely worth it.
For those who like to explore and get off the beaten path, the Geocaching app can take you where you want to go! Local geocachers are the ones who place geocaches (hidden containers) in their region, and they place them in places that are usually a bit of a gem. In your quest to find a geocache, you might go on a hike, take in an incredible view, or all of the above. One thing’s for sure– you’ll have a special adventure. The app is free for download and play, but you can get even more features with a premium subscription.
PS: Still don’t know what geocaching is? That’s okay, sometimes seeing is believing. Give this a quick watch!
The Roadtrippers app has many features– from accommodation to travel planning– but when I’m on the road what I use it for most is finding unique attractions. Through this functionality you can discover some of the quirkiest and most jaw-dropping stops along the way to your destination. Or, is the journey the destination? You’ll find out! Roadtrippers is a free app.
Entertainment + Education
After trying a dozen different pod cast apps, Pocket Casts is by far my favorite. This app keeps you up to date on what pods are new and trending and makes it easy to download and play. I also appreciate the custom filters you can create to keep all of your queues in order. Cost: $3.99. Considering I use it every single day, it’s a great value in my book.
Audible is a solid app for listening to your favorite books. I used to be an audio book skeptic, but after getting into road travel audio books became one of my go-to’s for entertainment and learning (and also for late-night driving!). Although there are a lot of audio book apps out there, one thing I enjoy about Audible is the ability to swap books with your friends on the app. Audible is free to download but you’ll need to get regular credits to purchase books (1 credit per book is the typical cost, regardless of dollar value). I’m currently on a $15/month plan and try to use my “credit” to get books that exceed $15 to feel like I’m getting my full value.
Most folks already have a favorite music app, but I have to put Spoitify in here because it’s my absolute favorite app in general and has made road tripping so sweet. Not only is Spotify’s app design and download experience fantastic, but they also curate playlists for you based on your listening interests, including new weekly playlists called “Discover Weekly”. It’s how I get almost all of my new music. This app is free with a premium upgrade. If you’re alright with playing everything in shuffle, the free version is alright– but if you haven’t used their premium version I really think you’re missing out.