5 Free Apps for a Perfect Road Trip

Sunday, May 2, 2021

There was a time when road trips were planned using huge paper maps, sketch pens, and notebooks. Places were marked or rounded with sketch pens to highlight the spots to visit. Avid travelers consulted various travel books to know more about the place. Part of the planning involved consulting with friends and family who have already visited the destination. 

Smartphones changed everything and nowadays travelers do not use paper maps anymore. There is no need for a navigator to sit next to the driver and guide them about the route. Google maps does that for them. Free apps have become extremely useful for both family and solo road trips. Just download them and start using them. Some of the apps even work offline.

1. Roadtrippers

This free app will be your best friend during the entire trip. Start using it from the moment you start planning the trip. Once you decide your destination, enter your starting point and the end destination in the app. Roadtripper would automatically show you all the available attractions, restaurants, hotel accommodations, outdoor and recreational activities available on the route, points of interest, camping sites, entertainment and nightlife options, service centers, and even sports activities available en route. You can select whatever you require or plan to visit and edit the trip itinerary accordingly. Once you sync the trip to your smartphone, Roadtrippers would guide you with navigation at every turn. You can even share your trip with friends. The only negative aspect is that Roadtrippers consumes battery, therefore make sure to have a USB charger handy.

2. Gasbuddy

Roadtrips can make a hole in your pocket. Gasbuddy is the app that would help you find the best gas prices on your way. Enter your destination and your vehicle type, Gasbuddy would do the calculation and help you save a lot of money on fuel.

3. ClimaCell

Rain, snow, and storm can completely sabotage your trip. The best thing would be to consult a free weather app before planning the dates of the trip. ClimaCell is a good option in the free weather app segment. The weather forecast of ClimaCell is quite accurate and it should be a must-have app during your trip. ClimaCell not only informs about weather but its advanced features include information about air quality, pollution, data about pollens, real-time information about fire outbreaks at a certain location, and precipitation information. Information about pollution would help you avoid areas where thick smog would make it difficult to drive. Many people are allergic to pollens and if you are one of those then Climacell can help you not ruin your trip with sneezing and wheezing. If you have pollen-allergy then this app should be on your phone. 

4. Hotel Tonight

Irrespective of planning your trip, you never know what can happen when you hit the road. Your car may break down, you may feel too tired to drive, you can fall sick or you may want to explore a particular place a bit more. In all these situations you would need a last-minute hotel booking. Most apps charge almost double for last-minute bookings but hotel tonight is an app that helps you make last-minute bookings at the best prices. The best news is you won’t even need a credit card to make a booking. You can pay directly at the hotel, however, if you cancel the booking then next time they will ask for your credit card to make a booking. Hotel Tonight has collaborations with hotels all over Europe, America, Australia, and parts of Asia. Hotel Tonight was acquired by Airbnb in 2019 but the app and website continue to operate without any changes.

5. Google Maps

Last but not the least, our very own Google maps. Launched in 2005, this is one of the oldest and trustworthy apps. Google maps give a route planner to the traveler. It also indicates the traffic condition on the way. Heavy traffic is highlighted in red and moderate traffic is highlighted in yellow. Google maps also provide a 360-degree panoramic street view and can be used to identify landmarks in real-time. Business listings are also available on this app, therefore, you can use it to know about nearby malls, restaurants, hotels, pubs, parks, theatres, and others. Google also introduced a feature called Google local Guides. This feature gives the users to post reviews, photos, ratings, and experiences that can help other users get an idea about the place. Google is planning to update it further.