Planning the smartest route for your road trip, finding roadside destinations, and discovering the next adventure is easy if you know where to get help. Here are ten apps that will get you there quicker, with more money in your pockets, stories up your sleeves, and time to continue exploring.
This trip calculator has features for just about every stage of planning for your journey.The app and desktop versions compare flying and driving costs, listing distance, time, stopping points, and cities near your destination.
Travelmath can help your college search by listing colleges and universities near your destination. Calculate the halfway point between you and a friend to plan a meet up, or even find your longitude and latitude for the geographers or geocachers among you. Users point out that without some key information, Travelmath loses accuracy, as details like airline, time of the year, route, and car model changes any calculations. To get the most out of the service, use it as a starting point during the first stages of planning your travels.
RouteXL helps get you there faster while saving on fuel and money. It determines the most efficient route between multiple stops with directions. It even tells you what you saved on time, fuel, and CO2 emissions.
Taking the attention away from the destination and refocusing on the stops in between, Alongways searches for what’s worthwhile along the way. You can search for what you would stop for, like dog parks or RV parking, or you can enter point A and point B to discover what pops up along your route.
With more features and a clean interface, the app will take you farther than the desktop version for $0.99. Alongways sweetens the deal by offering directions in the app.
Pro tips: Put an asterisk in your search for something unexpected. Choose “best” when planning road trips to catch the highlights and “all” when keeping it local.
This database of over 100,000 points of interest walks you through planning your next road trip. Using a world map interface, Roadtrippers offers recommendations for hotels, attractions, natural wonders, quirky roadside destinations, and more.
Curated pop culture guides can lead Seinfeld fans from Tom’s Restaurant (a.k.a. Monk’s) to the Costanza’s House in NYC. Feeling empty after Breaking Bad’s series finale? Roadtripper’s got you covered if you make the trip to Albuquerque – but leave the pizza at home.
Roadside America (iOS)
For die-hard attraction-seekers, Roadside America offers over 11,000 offbeat stops and oddities throughout America and Canada. You’re guaranteed to find something new in any state.
In the app, you can search by location or within one of their 70 themes (ex. ghost towns, nostalgia, presidents, UFO).
Added bonus: Need help escaping an attraction? Within the app, you can schedule a fake call to get out of dodge.
Atlas Obscura (Android/iOS)
By far one of my favorite sites on the list, Atlas Obscura is a beautiful database of the most curious places (and events, like in the video) across the globe.
This collaborative project encourages submissions from readers. Get lost discovering new places to explore or share local knowledge of your hidden gems.
Pro tip: Explore cities around you with the Obscura Society through sponsored events in New York City, Los Angeles, Illinois, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. If there isn’t anything happening in your region, suggest they come to you.
Added bonus: Play with the Field Trip App released by Google and featuring Atlas Obscura to take Obscura to the streets.
Triposo is a worldwide travel guide in your pocket that works entirely offline. Wander without Wi-Fi and let spontaneity take over.
Before your trip, pick the country you’ll visit to download your offline guide. With over 30,000 destinations and a dashboard with useful phrases, a currency converter, and even a report on the local weather, Triposo could become your one stop app for travel.
WiFi Map (Android/iOS)
Can’t go without Wi-Fi but don’t want to dip into your travel money either? For $4.99 you can get over 2,000,000 Wi-Fi passwords for free internet access around the world. Before you go, just tell WiFi Map where you’re going and download the maps for offline use. Contribute by updating or adding passwords.
Added bonus: Get the free version for domestic wanderings to reserve your battery life and 3G/4G/LTE usage.
Pro tip: Be smart while you’re enjoying the perks of free Wi-Fi. Our pals at LifeHacker have some great tips for you.
This is the Pinterest of travel.
Users add and explore photographs from around the world. Use Trover for inspiration by making lists or become part of the community by sharing tips with future travelers. Once you’ve returned home, upload your photos to share your adventures with others worldwide.
What would a trip be without having a delayed, cancelled, or overbooked flight?
If your flight into Europe through a European airline or out of Europe with any airline was delayed, cancelled, or overbooked, you may be entitled to compensation thanks to EU regulation. AirHelp navigates through the paperwork so you can receive your compensation (up to $800) without the hassle.
Pro tip: Even if the airline offered you compensation like free vouchers or air miles, chances are it was less that what you deserve. AirHelp only gets paid if you get paid, so there’s nothing to lose.