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A close-up look at a map with directions on a smartphone.

Essential Summer Road Trip Apps

June 14, 2016

You’ve probably heard the saying, “There’s an app for that.” And if you’re planning a road trip this summer, there’s no shortage of apps to distract you, enlighten you, humor you, and help you get from Point A to Point B. Here’s our list of the best road trip apps that are fun, informational and hopefully decrease the number of times the kids ask, “Are we there yet?” We’ve got road trip games, road trip organizers and other ways to pass to the time. 

Gas Guru – Must Have Money-Saving Road Trip App 

Price: Free
Rating: 4 stars
Best for: Any travelers looking to save a penny at the pump.

Getting on the road can be costly, but thankfully your smartphone is here to help. Gas Guru is designed to help users get the most bang for their buck. Powered by Yellowpages.com, the app allows you to view the best prices around or the nearest stations depending on your needs. The app interface displays a map view with a directions or a simple list of prices.

Animoto – Planning for a Scenic Road Trip

Price: $8 - $34
Rating: 2.5 stars
Best for: Travelers who like to remember and revisit every moment

Chances are when you’re road tripping, you’re going to document your adventure with pictures, video clips, and even some selfies. Instead of thumbing through your pictures, why not make it into a movie? Animoto allows just that. Animoto lets you pick photos and clips that you want, add a video style and a song to create a lasting memory. Better yet, Animoto makes it easily shareable with your family and friends via email, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Audible – For Road Trips Over 6 Hours

Price: $14.99/month
Rating: 5 stars
Best for: Long road trips. Listeners can purchase books for any age audience or topic so the app works well for all different groups of travelers. 

If reading in a vehicle makes you carsick or you’re the driver, Audible might be your best option. With a monthly subscription costing $14.99, you can download five audiobooks and have access to more than 180,000 titles. Listen to them through your headphones or with the whole family over your Bluetooth connected speakers. Additionally, Audible just added a new feature that allows users to send titles from their personal library to friends and family via their Windows 10, Android, or iOS apps. Most books take at least 6-8 hours to read, which gives you plenty of time. Keep the whole family on the edge of their seat with these wonderful stories.

TVFoodMaps – For the Foodie in You

Price: Free
Rating: 4
Best For: Hungry families and foodies alike.

An American road trip isn’t complete without food. There are plenty of fabulous food shows on TV that make your mouth water, but you can never seem to remember when you’re actually traveling. The app is your one-stop-shop for restaurants you see on TV and currently has more than 40 different shows and allows users to create reminders about places you want to visit, track places you’ve visited, and to plan a trip.

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Roadside America – Perfect for the Wanderer In All of Us

Price: $2.99 for a single region, in-app purchases for more specific attractions like a $5.99 add-on for access to 10,000+ attractions
Rating: 4.5 stars
Best for: The wandering travel group of friends who’ve got time on their hands and are up for adventure.

Pit stops and photo ops happen on road trips, and Roadside America makes it fun. Originally based in the location you purchase the app in, it recommends both little-known and well-known attractions around your region. The database is jam-packed with attractions that include nearly every giant statue in existence, historical crime sites, museums and quirky things throughout small towns that only the locals themselves would probably know. 

Google Translate – If Your Road Trip Involves New Cultural Experiences

Price: Free
Rating: 3 stars
Best For: Those travelling off the beaten path and budding linguists.

You never know what you’ll run into on a road trip, perhaps even a language barrier. That’s where Google Translate comes into play. There are six ways the app can support a language: Type: just use the keyboard; Talk: have a bilingual conversation; Snap: Translate images of text in a different language; See: Instant translations by using the camera’s phone; Write: Draw letters or characters with your finger; and Offline: Text translations without a data connection. Most recently, the app just celebrated its 10th anniversary and added 13 new languages.

Waze – For the Road Trip into Big Cities

Price: Free
Rating: 4.5 stars
Best For: Any travelers looking to get from Point A to Point B the fastest way possible.

With more than 50 million users worldwide, this Google-owned navigation app helps users find the best, fastest route from Point A to Point B. Use the app to see where major road problems are, average speed, backups, and other fleeting hazards on the app’s cartoonish interface. Beware though: Waze needs your location information all of the time (even in the background), which takes a toll on your battery.

BandsInTown – When You’ve Arrived 

Price: Free
Rating: 3 stars
Best For: Travelers in the mood for some live music.

Summertime is the perfect time to take in a concert or a music festival. BandsInTown simplifies the concert discovery experience so you can take in your favorite on tour and get a complete concert listing for every city. The concerts you RSVP to are synced with your calendar, so you never miss another live show. The app scans your music libraries in services like iTunes, Spotify, Pandora and Google Play, and even searches the artists you like on Facebook and Twitter.

Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder – Traveling the Open Road

Price: Free
Rating: 3 stars
Best For: Fans of national parks and the great American road trip.

For some, getting out on the road isn’t enough. If you’re in that category, perhaps Oh, Ranger! Parkfinder is just your app. Serving as your virtual guide to the outdoors, Oh, Ranger! Is a search engine and directory of national, state and local parks located in the United States. Users can search for parks by “things to do” (baseball, dog run, fishing, caving, and many more) by location. For each park listed, the app provides a general description of it, things to do while there, and contact information. Plus, if users register with the app, they are able to upload images, leave comments, check in, and get directions to parks.

Although there are plenty of apps out there to help pass the time and help get you safely to your destination, a fun road trip is based on the memories you make. The good news is with Farm Bureau Financial Services Roadside Assistance you can make sure those memories don’t include standing by the side of the road. Make sure you’re properly covered today, and start making memories today!