Best Travel Apps for a Great American Road Trip

Make the most of an USA road trip with these top travel apps

Whether you're planning a coast-to-coast adventure or a multi-state road trip, there are smart phone apps that will help you with your travels. Consider these downloads to get the most out of your USA road trip.

  • 01 of 10
    Hotels.com app
    ••• Hotels.com app. Hotels.com

    When fatigue sets in on a road trip, you often just want to drive as far as you can to get to the next town and call it a night so you can start fresh the next day. The free Hotels.com app available in the iTunes app store, the Android Market, and for Windows phones lets you look up and reserve hotels. For last-minute reservations, save up to 50 percent with their "Deals for Tonight" feature. Hotels.com currently has listings for more than 100,000 properties and the app lets you store reservations, track rewards points, and save hotels in a favorites list for later browsing. When you book 10 nights through them you even get one night free.

  • 02 of 10
    Pano app
    ••• Pano app. Debacle Software

    Smart phone apps have helped to give everyone the tools to take beautiful photography. The Pano app, available for Android, iOS, and Windows Phones, lets you take panoramic shots with ease that save right to your camera roll. Indeed, this app is handy for those traveling in the Southwest, where the endless vistas demand more than just a snapshot. Another winner in this category is the 360 Panorama app, available for iPhone and Android.

    These apps are currently priced at $1.99.

  • 03 of 10
    DealNews logo
    ••• DealNews app. DealNews

    Looking for a good deal on a great restaurant or some coupons for when you go shopping? DealNews organizes all the local coupons and deals that are available and each deal is vetted by experts so you don’t have to worry about getting scammed or encountering any fake deals. This app is handy when you’re looking for a great restaurant that isn’t too expensive. This app is free.

  • 04 of 10
    Foodspotting
    ••• Foodspotting. Foodspotting.com

    If you're less motivated by budget concerns and more interested in conquering a food craving while road-tripping, Foodspotting is an excellent app. Foodspotting users across the country upload photos of their most memorable meals and dishes, creating a veritable mobile scrapbook of dining ideas. The service also includes user-compiled lists, perfect if you roll into a large city and want to know where to get the best burger or where to go for dim sum. Foodspotting is free and available for iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and Windows phones.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Tripit
    ••• Tripit. Tripit.com

    Tripit is an easy-to-use travel planning and itinerary organizing app typically used more by frequent fliers. But road trippers can use the Tripit app and/or website to plan a trip, complete with hotel, dining, and shopping stops. Tripit lets you share your travel agenda to Facebook or with other friends on Tripit. And, of course, you can save your trips in the Tripit app for future browsing. The Tripit app is free and available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows.

  • 06 of 10
    Google Maps logo
    ••• The Google Maps app gives you traffic updates in real time. Google

    A GPS (global positioning system) is a must for drivers, especially for road trips. The Google Maps app lets you filter your directions by say, the fastest route or whether or not you want tolls. You can also save an area from your Google Maps and use it offline on your phone if you don't want to burn through your data or if the wi-fi is slow. This free app also offers real-time traffic updates, and faster alternative routes. 

    Google also just released their Destinations on Google to help you plan your trip: Simply type a region into Google and you’ll see a wealth of destinations to choose from based on popularity. You can filter your destination search by date (flexible or exact), price, number of travelers, and interests (think: surfing or hiking).  It even lets you see the weather forecast throughout the year for your next destination, precipitation by month, and which months are the most popular for tourists. 

  • 07 of 10
    GoSkyWatch Planetarium
    ••• GoSkyWatch Planetarium. gosoftworks.com

    A road trip across the USA sometimes involves countless hours of driving at night in the middle of nowhere. Or, it could mean a camping trip under the stars. Either way you're going to need to make a night-time pit stop, so why not use the break to take in those twinkling stars? The GoSkyWatch Planetarium app is an easy-to-use astronomy app that lets you point your phone at the sky and discover which stars, planets, and constellations are above you. GoSkyWatch Planetarium is available for iPhone and iPad for approximately $3.99.

  • 08 of 10
    Roadside America
    ••• Roadside America. roadsideamerica.com

    What's a road trip without stops at the quirky attractions along the way? Roadside America's app uses your phone's GPS to locate nearby oddities, statues, museums, but also lets you search and plan your visit to other ones. There are field reports for hundreds of attractions, organized by state, city, and category. Perhaps one of the coolest extras in the app is the "Sunset Alert," which alerts travelers to the last daytime photo opportunity on their chosen route. Roadside America is available for iPhone for $2.99 and includes access to one of seven North America regions. Pay $5.99 to unlock all regions and more than 7,000 attraction listings. It's a small price to pay for a little fun.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Gas Buddy
    ••• Gas Buddy. GasBuddy.com

    As this gas price heat map from GasBuddy.com indicates, gas prices across the United States fluctuate by as much as a $1 per gallon. The free Gas Buddy app lets you use the knowledge of the heat map and GasBuddy.com volunteers to find the cheapest gas while on the go. Gas Buddy is available for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry.

  • 10 of 10
    Spotify logo
    ••• Spotify app. www.tunecore.com

    Some of the best road trip memories likely involve turning the music up and rocking out to your favorite music with the open road in front of you. Rather than getting stuck with what's playing on the radio, download the Spotify app for the iPhone to find your favorite artists or music genre, and create playlists with the tap of your finger. It's free with ads and an ad-free premium membership is $12.99 that lets you listen even offline.