13 Best Road Trip Apps: plan your road trip, save money, book hotels, and more

An inveterate road tripper shares the best road trip apps to help you plan your road trip, save money, book hotels, find things to do, and more.

From before you go to when you’re on the road, there are tons of tools to help you get the most out of your adventure. The number of tools can be overwhelming, so I’ve narrowed it down to the best road trip apps.

These are the best apps that I personally use to plan road trips, to save money, to book hotels, to find trails and activities, and more.

I’m an Android user, and I’ve only included the best road trip planner apps available on both Apple’s app store and Android’s Google Play.

Check the respective stores to download these apps to your device.

Want more road trip tips? Get the COMPLETE Road Trip Guide (for grown-ups).

Best Road Trip Apps

AllTrails

Like to hike? Bike? Go for a walk? AllTrails is a great app to help you discover hiking and biking trails based on where you’re located.

You can read reviews, store trails you’d like to explore, and record the hikes you do take. You can choose to make your hikes public, or keep them private.

The basic app is free. Upgrade to the pro version to:

  • Download maps to stay on track without service
  • Never miss a turn with off-route notifications
  • Keep friends and family informed with Lifeline
  • Know what to expect with real-time map overlays
  • Offset your environmental impact; 1% of every subscription goes back to the planet.

GasBuddy

GasBuddy Deal Alert Map

Until electric cars have battery life that will take you through the country’s most remote stretches, gas is a necessary evil of the road trip.

It’s a big expense. On one of our epic road trips, we spent more than $600 filling up a vehicle that averaged 27MPG. Fortunately, we had GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas stations or we would have spent even more.

This free app’s basic function is to display how much stations are charging for gas. The prices are updated by users and in the years I’ve been using it I’ve come across incorrect information infrequently (which I promptly correct).

Seeing prices means you can skip the station by the interstate that’s charging 15 cents more than its counterpart a quarter mile away.

In addition to displaying fuel prices, you can also save when you sign up for Pay with GasBuddy. To do this, you’ll add your bank account information to your GasBuddy account.

They’ll mail you a card for use at the pump. Swipe it and enter your access code, and you’ll save a few cents per gallon.

Pay with GasBuddy also gives you access to Deal Alerts, which knock the price down even more and why I consider this one of the best road trip apps.

Pay with GasBuddy doesn’t work at warehouse clubs or stations on reservation land. But, it works with most major brands and we save an average of five cents a gallon by using our card.

I’m such a fan I’ve written a full guide on how to use GasBuddy.

Google Maps

Screenshot of Google maps, one of the best road trip apps because you can use it to find directions, but also to create your road trip itinerary.

I almost feel like this goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway (obviously): if you have just one road trip navigation app, make it Google maps.

Not only can you get directions and find the best routes, it also warns you of speed traps and traffic jams. Because it’s tied into Google you can find anything around you, too.

TLTip: Plug your day’s stops into Google Maps and download the route to your phone.

Google Maps can also be used as a road trip trip planner.

When you find great places and quirky roadside attractions that look interesting or you know you want to include on your itinerary, you can save them.

For example, search for Rocky Mountain National Park. Then tap the “Save” icon. From there, you can add it to Favorites, Want to go, Travel plans, or Starred places.

You can also create your own lists, which will make it easier to plan a whole trip.

Once you add these amazing places to a list, you can add a note. Maybe Aunt Sue recommended the peach pie at a diner. Write it down in the notes. Then when you’re planning your itinerary, you’ll know why you added that diner to your list.

You can keep your list Private or you can choose to share it. This comes in handy when there are multiple people planning the trip.

BONUS: Google Maps has now added how much tolls will cost.

iExit

Screenshot of road trip app iExit.

Taking the interstates in the United States? iExit shows you what’s available at upcoming exits, including dining, shopping, restrooms, and attractions.

It also displays gas stations, and a premium version includes gas prices. Don’t let the word premium fool you: it’s only $1.99.

NPS App

Not only does the official app of the National Park Service show you where to find National Parks, it also helps you discover every site in their system. It’s free to use and you can explore by topic, by activity, by state, or near your location.

You can save sites to your favorites and make the information available offline. That way when you’re in Yellowstone National Park and you’re blissfully disconnected, you can still access the information.

Grand Prismatic Springs at Yellowstone National Park.

It’s downloaded to your phone, so make sure you have storage space.

Related: Don’t miss these National Park tips and printable checklist.

Priceline

If I had a dime for every dollar Priceline has saved me I could start booking three- and four-star hotels.

The commercials ain’t lyin’—their Express Deals are amazing. What’s the catch? You have no idea where you’ll end up. You can see a general area and a star level, but that’s it.

When a glitch caused our camping plans to fall through (nobody wants to set up camp at 8:30 at night—I’ve done it, and it’s not fun), I found an Express Deal in Jamestown, ND, for $41.

Once the transaction completed, I learned what hotel we’d booked. It was clean and offered free Wi-Fi. We had a refrigerator and microwave, breakfast was included, and I could even register the stay with my rewards account.

I’ve compared Priceline to Hotel Tonight multiple times, and I’ve always found a better deal on Priceline. Your mileage may vary.

TLTip: If you use Priceline to book your hotel rooms, it is very important to read the reviews. Sometimes there’s a reason that hotel with free breakfast is only $40.

Related: how to save money on a road trip.

Rainy Days

Screenshot of Rainy Days showing a storm formation, one of the best road trip apps

Knowing what’s happening weather-wise is kind of important when you’re on a road trip. My favorite way to see whether I’ll stay dry or will need to break out the slicker is Rainy Days.

This free app has helped my anxiety level frequently, especially while driving in North Central Nebraska. It was good to know we were driving the opposite direction of an intense storm.

Another time, a tornado warning popped up on the navigation system… in Montana. If you’ve never driven through central Montana, let me tell you, this is the reason jerry cans were invented.

It’s big and beautiful and feels like you’re the only one for miles – and you probably are. The rest area near Musselshell was so quiet I could hear a cow call in the distance. There were no bridges to hide under, no gullies, no shelter. Just us, the road, and ominous clouds.

Incredibly, we had cell service, so I pulled up Rainy Days and discovered that the storm and its potential funnel clouds and golf-ball-sized hail were behind us and moving slower than we were. Whew!

Besides, it’s cool to see those weather formations.

Rainy Days doesn’t provide weather forecast. For that, I use the Weather.com app that came pre-installed on my phone.

Recreation.gov

St. Mary's Lake in Glacier National Park

Recreation.gov is the official website and app for making reservations at US National Park Service sites.

You can find campgrounds and lodging, tours and activities, sign up for lotteries for the most popular things to do, and find information on what permits are required near you.

Once you make reservations, they’re stored in the app.

You can also make reservations in the app. We did, while sitting at the entrance to a campground in Mississippi.

Sunrise view over a lake with two red camp chairs in the foreground. One chair has a black and white hat hanging from it.
View from our Mississippi campsite.

Restaurant.com

Delicious nachos at a restaurant we found in Bend, Oregon, through Restaurant.com

Eating where the locals eat is a great way to get a real “taste” for a town. If you want to save some dough on your dining, sign up for restaurant.com.

This app provides discounted certificates, and I’ve found participating restaurants in towns with fewer than 10,000 residents.

You’ll have to spend a minimum amount to use your certificate, and it’s usually double the face value. For example, if you get a $10 certificate for $4, you’ll have to spend at least $20 and you’ll save $6.

You can search for restaurants in your current location and by zip code. You can also choose larger cities, including Chicago, Seattle, and Austin.

Once you’ve narrowed down the location, look at the menu and the ratings. I’ve found several real gems using this app, and they’ve been places I never would have known about or tried without it.

The mobile app has been acting pretty wonky lately, and there seem to be fewer selections than in years past. I suggest trying it out at home before taking it on the road.

Roadtrippers.com

Add more places to stop on your road trip and you'll see the mileage and time change.

Roadtrippers.com is one of my favorite road trip planning tools. It allows you to plug points into a map, but it’s so much more than that.

Once you’ve added your starting point and your destination, Roadtrippers displays attractions along your route. The more you zoom in, the more attractions you’ll see.

When you’re on the road, the app will show nearby points of interest, restaurants, and gas stations.

You can add the type of vehicle you’re driving and its estimated fuel efficiency and Roadtrippers will calculate your approximate expenses.

Besides plotting the route itself, there’s a ton of user-generated content offering recommendations for attractions, restaurants, places to stay, and great photo ops.

Previously you could specify whether you wanted to drive interstates or not per segment of your trip. That’s no longer the case, and to choose any routing options you’ll need to upgrade to Roadtrippers Plus.

Check out our full guide on how to use Roadtrippers.

However, upgrading also allows for collaboration with other users and increases the number of waypoints from seven in the free version to 150. You can also download maps, see live traffic and unlock special discounts.

At the time of publication, Roadtrippers Plus is $29.99 a year. If you upgrade, you can save $5 off your first year with code BTR5QTP. Click here to learn more.

I’m an affiliate with Roadtrippers, so any purchase through that link gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you.

TollGuru.com

Screenshot of TollGuru app showing route from Chicago to Milwaukee, how much gas could be, and how much tolls will cost.

Driving highways or in urban areas? Download TollGuru.

This road trip app has detailed information, including pricing, methods of payment accepted at tolls, and which transponders (E-ZPass, SunPass, FasTrak, TxTag, etc.) are accepted.

It will also give you an estimated fuel cost if you include the type of vehicle you drive and the average gas prices.

TripTik by AAA

Screenshot of TripTik by AAA, showing a map with multiple points plotted. It's one of the best road trip apps.

One of the best road trip planning apps is AAA’s TripTik.

These have come a long way since the spiral-bound guides of my youth. Today, you can plan your road trip routes online or on your phone.

If you want to plan your perfect road trip, plug in your starting and ending points and add up to 25 stops. Specify how often you’d like to stop and it’ll build breaks into your turn-by-turn directions.

You can choose to display gas stations, attractions, campgrounds, hotels, restaurants, AAA savings, and rest areas.

This road trip planning app is free to use, even if you’re not a AAA member. Joining is recommended, though. Not only do you get roadside assistance, you also get special discounts on hotel rooms and restaurants, as well as paper maps.

Upside

Screenshot of Upside, a road trip app that helps you save money on gas, groceries, and restaurants.

Upside is a free app that gives you cash back on gas, groceries, and restaurants. Brands include most of the big fuel chains (Shell, Marathon, Valero, BP, etc.)

Upside works similarly to Pay with GasBuddy in that you get cents off per gallon, but you get it in the form of cash back.

For example, at the Casey’s near me I can get eight cents per gallon cash back. To get the discount, I claim the offer, pay with a credit card, and then check in or take a photo of my receipt to upload it.

Once the cash back processes, which is usually within a couple days, I can transfer it to my bank account or use it to buy gift cards for places like Domino’s, H&M, and Starbucks.

Upside also offers cash back at restaurants and grocery stores. The offers vary, and when you first sign up there’s an increased discount.

The app saves you a few cents here and there, but they add up, especially when you’re on long road trips.

Sign up for Upside using my link here and get 15 cents/gallon cash back!