Having been on the road for nearly two months at this point, there are a few go-to apps I’ve discovered that have been a huge help for us. In no order of importance, here are the seven apps I’ve consistently referred to.
GoogleMaps (offline maps)
Some form of GPS is a necessity, and I prefer Google Maps.
Most of the United States has HORRENDOUS cell coverage, and we consistently found ourselves without service on major interstates. With the offline maps option, we were able to download/save routes to use when out of service. We could leave the app and zoom in and out as we pleased.
Bonus: You can change the accent of the lady. Ours speaks to us in a British accent, which is much more soothing than an American one!
Great for trips to bigger cities! BestParking was our helpful guide to finding the cheapest and most convenient parking, with detailed information about the lots themselves.
The free version works perfectly and allowed us to find parking in Chicago for a mere $6/day (as an example).
Not only does GasBuddy help you find the nearest gas station (helpful for those times we needed to find Esso’s to use gift cards!), but it can help you find the cheapest gas around. And it uses your map app of choice to direct you to it.
I started using Groupon a little late in this roadtrip, but I found a beauty deal in Greenville, an awesome trolley deal in Savannah, a plantation tour in Georgia and oil changes in nearly every city. It’s worth a shot seeing if a coupon app has a deal on what you’re planning on doing anyways (Living Social also works)!
Being on a food budget (and not being big foodies in general), we used Yelp to filter our lunches and dinners by $ or $$. Not only that, we used it to find those middle-of-nowhere hole-in-the-walls that were so good we needed to drive 5 miles out of the way to eat there!
When you only have one or two days in a city and can’t decide which activity to do, TripAdvisor becomes your best friend. Read reviews and make a judgement call on what you’d rather see.
Alternatively, when you don’t know what there is to do, you can sort “Things to Do” by ratings in each city and make a decision based on that.
Zillow is a fun app if you like driving around and looking at houses in different cities. This app tells you what each house is listed at, or its current value. If the sale was recent, you can view pictures of the house. This works like any maps app – it uses GPS to show you where you are and the toggle updates as you drive.
I only recently found this and, unfortunately, haven’t had the chance to use it yet. It looks all-inclusive (to the point of overwhelming) but it seems to have some hidden gems in there. It would take some getting used to, as with any app, but I can certainly see this being useful in the bigger cities!
I’ve heard lots about this one, and it seems to be very helpful for reporting accidents on Google maps, but I haven’t used it myself.
And, as always, you can use Facebook and Twitter (use airport hashtags for cities) to reach out to your friends/new friends asking for recommendations. Some of our best pub experiences have come from asking our friends on Facebook!
Any apps I’m missing?