There’s nothing more American than throwing a cooler in your car and hitting the open road. But whether it’s finding cheap gas or navigating the interstate, road tripping isn’t always easy or affordable. Don't let that stop you — we’ve rounded up the best road trip apps to help you plan a fun, frugal, and fuss-free vacation.
Check out the chart below to get the basics on all 14 Cheapism-recommended apps and jump to each app for more details.
Prices and availability are subject to change.
Recommended Apps at a Glance
|iExit Interstate Exit Guide|
|Uproad Toll Road Payment|
|Walmart Overnight Parking|
*On Apple's App Store
Roadtrippers is a navigation and trip-planning app designed specifically for — you guessed it — road trips. The free version gives you the option to set up to seven waypoints for your trip, so you can sightsee along the way. And whether you’re into national parks or weird museums, Roadtrippers has a variety of themed travel itineraries and guides.
For more great road trip and other travel stories, please sign up for our free newsletters.
GasBuddy tries to take the guesswork out of finding affordable gas by locating the cheapest filling stations in your area. Drivers can also take advantage of the app’s trip planner and its free Pay with GasBuddy card, which can save users up to 25 cents per gallon.
For RV travelers who want a more picturesque place to camp for the night, Harvest Hosts boasts more than 6,000 unique camping spots at breweries, farms, golf courses, and private properties. The best part? There aren’t any camping fees. That said, users have to pay $99 a year to access Harvest Hosts’ database.
$2.99 on the App Store
Roadside America offers a database of some of America’s quirkiest landmarks, museums, and restaurants. If you’ve always wanted to cut into a stack of flapjacks while dozens of animatronic chickens serenade you — yes, this restaurant exists — then you’re sure to enjoy the app’s collection of oddities. To access these offbeat attractions, you have to pay between $1.99 and $6.99 on top of the app’s price, depending on how many regions you’d like to unlock.
As much as we’d all like to ignore the endless stream of notifications and emails on vacation, some of us simply can’t. For Instagram addicts and workaholics alike, WiFi Finder helps road trippers find verified hotspots throughout the country. Users can even download WiFi Finder’s interactive map for offline use.
iExit Interstate Exit Guide
IExit is an all-in-one app perfect for when you’re in the middle of nowhere and have no idea where to stop. The free app shows you upcoming exits and their amenities, including gas stations, eateries, and accommodations. IExit supplements its search results with Yelp reviews, real-time gas prices, and exclusive deals on hotels.
Recreation.gov is making camping digital by giving outdoor enthusiasts the option to find and reserve campsites on their smartphones. The search feature, which includes personalized recommendations, allows you to filter results based on price, campsite type, and more. Once you’ve found a spot, you can book and access your reservation digitally.
Uproad Toll Road Payment
If your trip has tolls along the way, then it’s worth checking out Uproad. With this app, vacationers don’t have to worry about transponders, paper bills, or long lines; instead, you can simply drive through and pay digitally. Travelers will also enjoy the app’s Trip Calculator, which helps you find the cheapest and fastest routes.
IOverLander is a community-run directory specifically for campers and nomads, featuring restaurants, hostels, informal campsites, tourist attractions, dump stations, and, well, pretty much anything you’d ever need on a road trip. Simply fire up the app’s interactive map, and you’ll find thousands of waypoints across the U.S.
If you’re a spontaneous traveler, chronic procrastinator, or both, then HotelTonight might be the ideal booking app. The company specializes in finding same-day deals on accommodations, though careful planners can also book ahead with HotelTonight. Beyond offering exclusive last-minute discounts, the app lets you sort by categories based on your budget and taste.
While most people already have a weather app, Drive Weather is specifically designed to make road tripping safer and more predictable. The app shows forecasts based on your route and departure time, drawing on National Weather Service data. You can also compare different routes, add stops, and make other adjustments.
Waze is a navigation app for road trippers with an “are we there yet?” mentality. The app uses crowdsourced data from other Wazers to automatically put you on the fastest route. While that might mean taking a shortcut down some random backroads, you can reassure impatient passengers that you’re skipping the traffic.
Given their gargantuan proportions, it’s not easy to drive an RV. That’s why RV Life provides RV-optimized directions tailored to the height of your vehicle, helping drivers avoid low clearances, mountain passes, and other potential hazards. With its database of RV parks, resorts, and campgrounds, RV Life also makes it easy to plan your trip.
Walmart Overnight Parking
$2.99 on the App Store
Seasoned road trippers and van dwellers know that you can camp in most Walmart parking lots. The Walmart Overnight Parking app takes advantage of this hack, showing users all the locations that permit car camping. Not only does this give you a free place to park, but you can also stock up on goods and use the store’s bathroom. Android user? The OverNight Parking Finder RVSleepy has similar functionality and is also free.
Want to plan a summer road trip? Check out more Cheapism road trip content for inspiration and destination ideas.