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Best Free Apps For Family Road Trips

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Last Updated on November 17, 2020 by Corinne Schmitt

We are getting ready to embark on a cross-country family road trip to visit our relatives. Fifteen hours in a car with four kids might sound like a nightmare on wheels to some, but after having done this a few times I have learned that proper planning can actually help to make these trips enjoyable family memories. I’ve shared some of our tried-and-true techniques in an earlier article “Family Travel Sanity Savers.”

Over the next few days, I’m going to share some of our other travel tips. Today, I’m going to highlight apps for your smart phone or tablet that will help you enjoy and chronicle your family road trip. And even though I have an iPhone, I don’t assume the rest of the world does too so all of these apps are available for Androids as well and many of them on additional platforms. They are also all FREE because traveling, especially as a family, is expensive enough!

Road Trip Apps

Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor helps you find hotels, restaurants, and attractions almost anywhere. You can read reviews from other travelers and view pictures. It’s available for both Apple devices and Androids for FREE.

Trip Advisor screenshot

Around Me

Want even more information about what businesses are nearby? Download the Around Me app to find banks & ATMS, hospitals, movie theaters, parking, and more. Available for FREE for iPhones, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone.

Around Me screenshot

Gas Buddy

With Gas Buddy, you can easily find the least expensive gas near you. And because they know you’re thrifty, this app is FREE. Find it in the App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry App World.

Gas Buddy Screenshot

Wi-Fi Finder

Forgot to download the book to your Nook or Kindle before you set out on the trip? Need to get some work done on the road? Wi-Fi Finder will help you find the closest wi-fi hotspots near you and will let you know which ones are free and which are paid so you don’t have to waste time (and gas—since we know you just scored a deal on it using Gas Buddy) driving around trying to find one. Get it for FREE at the App Store or Google Play.

screenshot of Wi Fi Finder


This is a great app for the traveler who likes to get out of the car and explore. Don’t be fooled by the name though. You can do a lot more with AllTrails than find great hiking trails. You can create an interactive map as you move along (via walking, biking, driving, sailing, etc.) and plot pictures, videos, and comments along the way. You can also share the adventure with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, and the app. You can download the app to your iPhone or Android for FREE.

screenshot of All Trails app


These apps have saved me a lot of aggravation during road trips. I hope you find them helpful as well. Please share your experiences with them in the comments if you have used any of them. Also, please let me know if you have a favorite app for road trips that I didn’t include here.


29 thoughts on “Best Free Apps For Family Road Trips”

  1. Pingback: 25 Ways to Make Traveling with the Family Easier
  2. Pingback: Road Trip Checklist - WONDERMOM WANNABE
  3. I use the gas buddy even if I’m not traveling. We live out/country from town and so I look for the best gas prices when we go in to town. Gotta save where ya can.

  4. I use Around Me, which I like but sometimes i find it’s not up to date. I’ve never used the wifi one. That sounds really cool! Thanks for this awesome list Corinne! Now I have 2 more apps to add on!

  5. Don’t forget about foursquare!! You can explore the areas you are traveling to, get great tips, and do so much more!

    • Thanks Dwayne! You are right, foursquare is a great app for getting info about area businesses and attractions. Thanks for mentioning it.

  6. These are definitely some great apps. Thanks so much for sharing. They will definitely come in use when I have to take a trip with my boys.

  7. We are getting ready to take a road trip also and I will make sure I get these on my phone and figure them out before we go. Thanks!

  8. What a great selection of apps! A few I already use, but several were new to me! Also, thanks for including platforms other than iPhones and Androids! You are correct, not all of us have those and finding good apps that are worth getting can be hard!

  9. I love the gas buddy! It saves you so much money, since there can be such a huge difference between gas station only a couple miles apart from each other! Definitely a great round up with apps you HAVE to have for a trip 🙂

  10. Fantastic info – we are heading on our next road trip in less than a week! I am going to share this so we can see it again!

  11. Wow! I can see how every one of those would be helpful. I don’t have a smartphone, but perhaps I better get one before my next road trip. The phone I do have would probably not work for these.

  12. I have to get Google Goggles! My GPS alerts me when I am near a Dunkin Donuts but with four kids I’m not sure that’s one you want:)

  13. Fantastic advice. Thank you!! I go on a lot of road trips so this is really useful. Looking forward to more!!

  14. Great apps for traveling. We just got back from a mini staycation, wish I had them….going to download a few right now!

  15. Great post. This is such good information even for smaller or shorter trips to unfamiliar areas. I was familiar with some of these, but not all.

  16. What a great collection of Apps! I had no idea about Road Ninja, Wi-Fi Finder & Google Goggles – definitely need to download those!

  17. Wow–almost makes me wish I had one of the types of equipment needed to use those apps–the one with the “around me attractions” really interests me!!

    • Michele, some low-tech options are “The Next Exit” which is a book that does the same thing Road Ninja does but in written form. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a great replacement for Around Me that isn’t dependent on GPS location, other than picking up a city guide from the town’s Visitor Center or Chamber of Commerce.

  18. Finding a good price on gas will really help with those long road trips. I don’t think my Hubs knows about this app.

    • I know! There’s nothing worse than filling up for $3.89 a gallon, only to see that it’s available for $3.43/gallon two exits later.

  19. I have a lot of those, I have never heard of wi-fi finder. I will have to get that. I love gas buddy,

  20. I love to do road trips.. and your information are really useful not just to those people on a road trip but to anyone who is traveling specially to a place unfamiliar.


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