Heading out on a road trip? There's plenty of planning to be done, both before you start and along the way. Here are nine of the very best apps for any US road trip -- install them all before you start to help make those long days behind the wheel memorable for all the right reasons.
It's hard to take a road trip without a map, and there are dozens of navigation apps out there to help you find your way. With lane-by-lane navigation, a high level of accuracy and the ability to save areas for limited offline use in case you drive out of cellphone range, Google Maps is the best everyday choice.
I also use Here Maps, which gives a wider range of offline choices – you can download offline maps for entire countries with a couple of taps, and unlike Google Maps, the app continues to provide cycle and pedestrian navigation even while not connected. If you'll be spending plenty of time without data coverage, Here Maps will be invaluable..
An inevitable part of any road trip is regular stops at random gas stations, and there's little that's more frustrating than finding a cheaper option a few miles down the road.
GasBuddy uses the price information entered by its users to find cheap gas nearby – and if you repay the favor by inputting your own prices, you'll earn points towards gas giveaways as well.
Rather than subject yourself to a diet of fast food and bad coffee along the highway, fire up the Yelp app when you're feeling peckish. It will show you what's good to eat nearby (and what isn't), with ratings and comments from the app's huge and devoted community.
You can also search destinations along your route and around the world, filtering by price, type of food and more. For alternative reviews and options, try Zomato instead.
Sick of getting stuck in traffic, or looking to avoid speed cameras and police stops? Waze uses real-time data from other app users to alert you to trouble ahead, and optionally route you around the problem. It's effective, super-easy to use and can save you money and hours of frustration.
Like GasBuddy, Waze also includes gas price information – it's worth comparing the two before deciding where to fill up.
For spontaneous (or disorganized) road trippers, last-minute accommodation bookings are commonplace. There are many different apps that promise to find you deals, but in the US at least, Hotel Tonight is one of the best.
New deals pop up from noon each day, with photos and detailed descriptions of each property, and you can find properties for the current day or up to a week in advance. The app is free and easy to use, and you can use your current location – or any other – to find the room you're after.
One of the fears I always have when road-tripping is driving right past an attraction I'd like to have seen. Sure, the big-name sights are always signposted – but what about the quirkier, more offbeat things?
The Roadside America app aims to help with that, with over 10,000 interesting and oddball attractions across the US and Canada (once you pay to unlock all regions.)
You can quickly see what's nearby, or comb through the app for what lies along your route. You'll get maps, driving directions, photos, opening hours and the ability to call ahead direct from the app, along with reviews and commentary from both the editors and other users.
Nobody wants to have a breakdown – but that doesn't stop them from happening. If you don't have an existing AAA membership, dealing with car problems can be an expensive and frustrating process.
The Urgent.ly app offers an on-demand service that detects your location, lets you pick from a range of different problems, see your service options and track how far away the driver is on a map.
With clear pricing and thousands of service providers across the US, it's well worth installing the app... just in case.