For most travelers in the United States, the days of hitchhiking have passed and road trips have become a more convenient and inexpensive alternative to cross-country plane flights. And whether you’re a post-college graduate embarking on your first solo road trip adventure or are a family of four headed to Disney World in Orlando, the following five apps are available at your fingertips to make your travels more enjoyable than ever.
If you’ve already started on your expedition, you may have seen a “RoadNinja” billboard recently and wondered what it could possibly be. RoadNinja is the ideal app for travelers who aren’t OK with McDonalds at every single stop on the route from Minneapolis to Orlando. If you want a little variety in your meals, the lowest gas prices or just the best places to get out of the car, stretch your legs and maybe even sight-see, you’ll fall in love with your new RoadNinja app .
You no longer need to book a hotel two weeks ahead of time to receive the best rate — and that’s a good thing. When you’re on a road trip without set deadlines or even destinations, you need a lot of flexibility in your hotel booking, and sometimes instead of two weeks that means two minutes. The free Hotels.com app allows you to search for the lowest rate near your stopping point and book online just moments before you walk in the door.
3. Roadside America
Headed across the country? The Roadside America app — available for $5.99 on all Apple products — will bring you far more joy than the agony of spending over $5 on an app. Browse the most interesting roadside attractions in the country and adjust your trip accordingly, or if you’re traveling on a set route, find tourist traps near you to give your right foot a little time off the gas pedal. If you’re really bumming over the price, you can pay $1.99 for limited access to a specific region of the country and $2.99 for permanent access to that region.
4. CoPilot Live
Whether you’ve become victim of a weak cell phone signal or are planning to cross borders into Canada or Mexico, the CoPilot Live app offers offline maps to keep you safe and headed in the right direction. The basic version of the app starts at $3.99, but the most expensive European, Australian and Middle Eastern street maps are available for $33.99. Consider it this way — for the price of a regular old paper map, you can get speed limit warnings, traffic warnings, offline maps, turn-by-turn navigation and the countless other perks of CoPilot Live.
5. Mad Libs
Road trips are all about the journey — and that means the time spent inside your vehicle should be enjoyable too. You don’t need to have kids on board to have fun with Mad Libs, which is what makes it one of the best apps for on-road entertainment. Laugh for hours with this 100 percent free app that is even better than the paper version you remember as a kid.