Hit the Road With These Top Android and iOS Apps
Whether it's trips back home or just a drive up to the mountains to enjoy some snow (and maybe a little skiing), make sure your smartphone is riding shotgun. A number of Android and iOS apps can help with your next road trip by tackling everything from navigation to trip planning. Try out some of these apps the next time you hit the highway to make your next drive a hassle-free experience. (Photo Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock)
Android Auto (Android: Free)
Designed to make it easier to use your apps and phone services while on the road, Android Auto used to be the province of cars with connected dashboard displays, but you can use Android Auto's simplified interface and voice commands straight from your phone's screen. Just mount your Android phone on a cradle or lock, and you're all set. Android Auto is designed to work with Google Maps, Play Music, and numerous other apps to help you navigate, control music playback, answer your phone or send off quick replies without becoming a distracted driver. With expanded Google Assistant controls, Android Auto just keeps getting better and better. A redesigned interface makes it easier to find the apps you want.
Waze (Android, iOS: Free)
Waze (Android, iOS) is a crowd-sourced traffic map and navigation app. Users can check out traffic conditions based on real-time information from other Waze users, complete with reports on road hazards, accidents, speed traps and more. You can also report any incidents you encounter. Best of all, Waze includes guided turn-by-turn navigation that take traffic conditions into account.
GasBuddy (Android, iOS: Free)
Long road trips mean you're going to need to fill up multiple times, so finding inexpensive gasoline and reliable filling stations is a must. Motorists in the U.S. and Canada stand to save some serious change with GasBuddy (Android, iOS), a mobile app that helps users track down the cheapest nearby gas station from their present location. As many of the prices are based on user reports, GasBuddy rewards users with points for reporting and updating a station's prices. Those points make you eligible for regular raffles of prizes, like free gas. Brave early adopters of electric vehicles can instead give Plugshare (Android, iOS) a try: it lets you look up and review nearby charging stations for your electric car.
TollSmart (Android, iOS: $2.99 monthly)
Road tolls can add an unexpected chunk to your travel costs. TollSmart (Android, iOS) is a neat trip-planning app that allows you to quickly look up the price of all toll bridges, roadways, and tunnels from start to destination. The app allows you to create profiles for a variety of vehicles from the family sedan all the way up to nine-axle vehicles to calculate vehicle-based toll rates. The app also includes support for a variety of transponder-based systems like E-ZPass. Users can automatically log in toll rates in the app's TollTracker system for easy expense report logging. An in-app purchase provides you the ability to compare tolls across multiple proposed routes.
TollGuru (Android, iOS: Free)
Another handy trip planning and toll assistant app is TollGuru (Android, iOS), which helps users calculate the cheapest and fastest toll routes, as well as estimates of fuel consumption based on your vehicle. Simply set your starting point and destination, and the app can help you figure out the fastest or cheapest route (integrating with other navigation apps), show you the applicable tolls, and even factor in tolls at departure time for peak and off-peak rates, factoring in payment options like cash or transponder tags. Users can save the make and model of their vehicle, edit MPG fuel efficiency rates, and even set fuel prices to estimate their costs. The app covers the USA, Canada, and India.
iExit (Android, iOS: Free)
Need to grab a bite to eat, withdraw some cash from an ATM, or catch some winks before the next leg of your road trip? iExit Interstate Exit Guide (Android, iOS) helps you plan your next pitstop, displaying handy pictographs of businesses and amenities in upcoming interstate exits. Users can search for specific businesses, display locations on an on-screen map, view gas prices, or find amenities like Wi-Fi, truck parking or campgrounds.
Drivvo (Android, iOS: Free)
Drivvo (Android, iOS) functions as a helpful car maintenance logbook, helping users log in details like fuel consumption, odometer readings, and any preventive maintenance measures and repairs. You can record your gas top-ups, expenses, and set reminders for repairs, servicing and regular maintenance. The app also includes a crowd-sourced feature for finding out the cheapest gas prices near you. The app is free and ad-supported, with a premium subscription removing advertising and providing extras like cloud synchronization across multiple devices and data export.
DailyRoads Voyager (Android)
DailyRoads Voyager turns your Android phone into a budget dashcam, allowing you to record video or photos of your trip in the event of an accident or any other unfortunate situation. You can define the video quality, user-defined storage size and cyclic storage (so that your internal memory never fills up). The app offers time-stamping and geotagging of your recordings, along with speed and elevation. The app is ad-supported, with a premium version that removes advertising.
MileIQ (Android, iOS: Free)
Not every drive is a personal trip or vacation. If you need to track your mileage for business trips and tax purposes, check out MileIQ (Android, iOS), an automatic mileage-tracking app that takes advantage of your smartphone's GPS and motion sensors to automatically log your trips, complete with map information, destinations, and purpose of trip. The app also provides exportable spreadsheets and reports so you can easily plug them in for your business records and tax purposes. The free tier allows you to log 40 free trips per month, with premium tiers (starting at $5.99 per month) offering unlimited trip logging.
PackPoint (Android, iOS: Free)
If you're going to be on the road and away from home for more than a few days, it helps to make sure that you're properly packed for the trip. PackPoint (Android, iOS) is a travel packing wizard that provides a checklist of travel essentials that you need to pack, depending on the nature of your trip. Users simply create a trip profile, with their destination, length of stay and purpose of travel. PackPoint then creates a customized packing and luggage checklist that takes into account whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, the type and amount of clothing to pack based on the weather forecast and other factors. The app also comes with premium features, such as TripIt integration for automatic packing list creation.
RoadTrippers (Android, iOS: Free)
Roadtrippers (Android, iOS) is another useful resource for road trip planning, helping users find everything from diners and dives to hotels, restaurants, national parks, roadside attractions and other scenic points of interest. Users can plan out trips in the app or its web portal, saving locations and stops into a trip plan which you can sync across multiple devices for easy reference.
Roadside America (iOS; $2.99)
When it comes to tourist traps, oddities, and roadside attractions, America is a country blessed. The Roadside America app is a rich database of the weird and the wonderful sites along the road, from muffler men to quirky museums, scenic vistas, and historical landmarks. Users can explore the map, search by geographic proximity, name, or by theme. Purchasing the app allows you to unlock one of 7 different US regions or Canada, with in-app purchases unlocking more regions or the entire package.
INRIX ParkMe (Android, iOS: Free)
Finding parking spaces in a strange city can be a hassle. Enter INRIX ParkMe (Android, iOS), which helps you search for the nearest and cheapest parking options with the help of your phone's location sensors. You can check out parking rates, including daily and monthly rates, set a parking timer so you'll never forget to refill the meter, find out parking space availability where provided by the building or garage and even reserve and pay for a parking slot with your phone.
SpotAngels (Android, iOS: Free)
Another option for on-demand car parking data is SpotAngels (Android, iOS), which provides crowd-sourced maps of free and paid parking locations. Included data also features lot rules, known fees, and other parameters that you can search on a map. Users can also book parking with partner parking garages and services when they can’t find a free slot. SpotAngels can remember your car’s parking spot using your car’s Bluetooth or phone sensors, and the app can remind you to move your car during street cleaning hours or whenever other parking restrictions are in place.
Spotify (Android, iOS: Free)
Road trips are an excuse to listen to some great road music. Spotify (Android, iOS) can relieve the tedium of the drive and set the mood with on-demand music, curated streams and playlists and a rich library of artists and bands to listen to. You'll want the $9.99-a-month premium subscription, which removes ads, and most importantly, allows you to download music for offline listening so you can skip mobile data charges.
Audible (Android, iOS: $14.95 monthly)
If audiobooks are more your thing, there's also Amazon's Audible audiobook service (Android, iOS) to consider. Featuring a library of more than 180,000 audiobooks, Audible is a powerhouse in the field, and the mobile app offers solid playback controls, complete with chapter and bookmark controls, multitasking support for background playback, and the ability to download audiobooks to your device for offline listening.
Pocket Casts (Android, iOS; $3.99)
What about taking your podcasts on the road? Try Pocket Casts (Android, iOS), which neatly combines style and function with an attractive design that showcases subscribed podcasts in tile format. Tap on a square to bring up an episode list and download options. A smart playlisting feature helps you sort and categorize your downloaded content for easy listening. The app also includes a variety of library organization features, support for streaming, and the option to download full episodes so that you don't have to use up your mobile data cap while on the road.
HotelTonight (Android, iOS: Free)
Ideally, you've got your accommodations and itinerary planned out on long road trips, but even the best laid plans can go wrong. If you suddenly need to look for last minute hotel rooms, HotelTonight (Android, iOS) is going to be a lifesaver, offering users last-minute discounts on vacancies and same night accommodations from top-rated hotels. Users can search by category and quality such as Basic, Hip or Luxe, view information on nearby hotels, and quickly book accommodations from within the app.
Yelp! (Android, iOS: Free)
If you're looking for a place to eat or shop in an unfamiliar town, it's hard to go wrong with Yelp (Android, iOS), which provides local reviews for more than 135 million restaurants and businesses worldwide. You can quickly check out reviews of nearby restaurants and diners, consult their menus, make a reservation or order delivery, or use the app to find nearby car services that you might need on the road, like a body shop or auto repair workshop.
Flush Toilet Finder (Android, iOS: Free)
The idea of an app for finding restrooms and toilets might, at first blush, seem silly, until you find yourself out on a road trip, about to enter what may or may not be an absolutely filthy restroom. Enter Flush Toilet Finder (Android, iOS), an app that uses your location sensors and checks its database of more than 200,000 public and paid toilets worldwide, showing you nearby toilets on a map, with information such as whether the toilet requires a fee or key or includes handicapped access. Neat features include the fact that Flush Toilet Finder functions even when offline; it can integrate with Google Maps to provide directions to a selected restroom.