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7 Smartphone Apps for Your Perfect Road Trip

As we get into summer, our brains are far away from classes and exams and busy making vacation plans! Maybe you’ve just started your summer internship a few weeks ago and are finally getting the hang of it. Or perhaps you’re staying at home and working a summer job to make some extra cash. Whatever you’re up to, we’d like to add one more option to your summer bucket list: a road trip. There’s nothing better than some friends, some tunes, and the wide, open road to get a girl excited, and a little travel is always a good idea!

Check out our article on the 10 Best Road Trip Stops to get you started with your sightseeing list. Next, check out this list of seven apps to make your road trip that much easier. You’ve got a full tank of gas and hours ‘til dark, so let’s hit the road!

1. For truly original sightseeing: Roadside America
$2.99; Available for iPhone

For the road tripper who wants a cheesy photo next to a ball of twine, the adventurer who wouldn’t mind a detour for a silly statue, and the collegiette who wants to say she’s seen a wax museum, Roadside America is your tool for offbeat sights while on the road.

The initial $2.99 app cost unlocks one region of the United States and Canada. If you know exactly where you’ll be traveling, you can choose the region that best fits your needs after you download the app. Additional regions can be added for $1.99, but we recommend pooling together an additional $5.99 with your girls to unlock all seven regions. You never know when your next road trip will be!

You can search for attractions with their specific name (if you know what you’re looking for) or browse by city or zip code to see what’s near you. Editor ratings show you what’s been popular with other users, and you can access maps and directions to get you to your next wacky stop.

Some of the coolest parts of this app are the additional features that it provides. The “Been There” feature allows you to keep track of the places you’ve already visited, while the “Tourist Interruptus” tool will schedule a call to your cell if you’re spending too much time in one place so that you can make sure you stay on schedule! The app also connects with Facebook and Twitter so you can update your Facebook status or tweet about your crazy new discoveries.

2. For documenting your adventures: Pic Stitch
Free; Available for iPhone

For a fun photo app, check out Pic Stitch! With this free collage maker, it’s easy to put together multiple pictures of the sunsets you saw while in Maine, the “Welcome to…” state signs you passed on your trip to Arizona, and the perfect pieces of pie you indulged in, well, everywhere.

The basic package comes with preset collage templates, the option to resize your collages to fit standard photo sizes, fun frames, and special effects and colors to give your collages that extra something. Additional effects like stickers and photo filters can be purchased inside the app from $0.99 to $1.99.

After you’ve created your collage, send the photos to your Facebook page or Instagram account so that friends can travel along with you! 

3. For finding the cheapest gas: GasBuddy
Free; Available for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry

Once you’re on the road, the last thing you want to worry about is the location of the cheapest gas station. GasBuddy eliminates the guesswork of finding the most reasonable gas prices in your area.

This free app relies on user updates to make sure that the gas prices reported are accurate no matter where you are. While users update prices, the GasBuddy system is designed to remove prices 72 hours after their original posting to ensure accurate information. You can view gas stations at any point on your trip and see which gas stations are closest to you and cheapest in real time. There’s nothing worse than driving around to find good gas prices only to find that you’ve passed the best station!

If a price you see on GasBuddy’s map is incorrect, update it within the app for other GasBuddy users to earn points. Once you have one thousand points, you’re eligible to enter the weekly prize giveaway. The prize? $250 in prepaid gas. Not a bad trade!

4. For great food: Foodspotting
Free; Available for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry

Never miss that great roadside spot, that amazing local dish, or that totally unique restaurant on your trip. The Foodspotting app helps you find the best dishes that people are raving about anywhere.

Photos of popular, quality menu items are shown based on your location to show you what’s nearby. You can see how many people have already loved a dish and keep track of specialties that you experience for yourself so that those dishes will be ranked higher for other Foodspotting users. If you try a dish that’s already been featured, click the heart below the photo to keep its ranking high for users. When other users search for something generic like “Best Burger,” for example, the most-loved dishes will appear first, guaranteeing a delicious bite. To add a new dish, snap a photo and give restaurant details to add it to Foodspotting’s directory. You can also bookmark dishes for later so that you’ll always have something tasty to try.

To customize your experience even further, you can follow friends and experts on Foodspotting to see the scrumptious foods they’re eating. For the food-centric traveler, this app looks like a blue-ribbon winner!

5. For local music: Timbre
Free; Available for iPhone and Android

Get a pulse for the local music scene for each of your road trip stops with Timbre, an app that uses your location to show you which bands are playing near you and where the shows are.

The cool thing about this app is that it shows any band playing in that area regardless of how well known they are, so it’s awesome for finding new music. The calendar shows when bands are playing, so if you plan before you go you can see what’s coming up in each city.

Select a band from the calendar to preview their songs on the go. If you like what you hear, you can buy tickets to the show directly from the app. The newest update of the app has the option of syncing with the calendar on your phone, too, so you’ll have all your concert dates saved. Use the share option to tweet, text, post to Facebook, or e-mail the concert details to your friends. All that’s left to do is enjoy the show!

6. For a place to stay: Room 77
Free; Available for iPhone and Android

After a long day of driving, Room 77 will help you find the most comfortable place to rest your head so you can recharge for another day of fun!

Room 77’s search engine looks through leading travel sites like Expedia, Hotels.com, Priceline, and Orbitz so that all current rates are displayed. You can look at photos and customer ratings to get a feel for the hotels you’re browsing, and you can even book your hotel from inside the app.

Once you have your destination in mind, use the app search filter to make certain that the factors that are most important to you are taken into consideration when showing results. You can filter by star rating, hotel amenities, room price, and hotel extras like free parking and free Wi-Fi. All of these options make finding the right hotel hassle-free and let you focus on more important things, like where you’ll be traveling next!

7. For road safety: RepairPal
Free; Available for iPhone and Android

Finally, you need to make sure you’re safe on the road! The road is full of unpredictable situations, and better to plan ahead for disaster than be caught unprepared. With RepairPal, you’ll always be ready for any unfortunate occurrences.

This app focuses on car repair, but it also includes a roadside assistance feature should you find yourself in a jam while on the road. The roadside assistance capability connects you with help, and you only pay for it as you use it.

If you need to make vehicle repairs while on a trip, use the repair shop directory to find a quality repair shop near your location. The cost estimator will give you an idea of how expensive the work should be, and the repair history helps you keep track of the work that’s been done on your car. This kind of information is important to have if your car is still under warranty or if you’re in an accident so that you can be properly reimbursed. With all of this information at your fingertips, it’ll be pretty hard to forget!

At the very least, make sure that the ICE (in case of emergency) section of your contacts on your phone is up to date before you head out on your trip. You want to make it as easy as possible for others to help you out if you can’t help yourself. We know you collegiettes are super responsible, but it never hurts to be cautious when it comes to safety.


When you’re ready to venture out for your next road trip, don’t forget about all of these terrific apps! With these secret road trip weapons, you’ve got the power and knowledge to discover amazing music, sights, food, and places to stay. Now your only travel dilemma will be deciding where to go next. Safe travels, collegiettes!  

Do you have any tips for road trips or travel apps you love? Let us know in the comments!

Rachel is a recent graduate of Butler University where she received her B.S. in Arts Administration. She loves being part of the Her Campus team! During college she had a variety of internships working at organizations like the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the online fashion and beauty magazine College Fashion. Currently, she serves as a Campus Ambassador for Button Me Up, a handmade jewelry company operating out of San Diego. She also works as a contributing writer for Levo Leauge. Rachel is on an endless search for the next book to read, the next latte to drink, and the next cupcake to eat. Any suggestions, please send them along! Follow her on Twitter @rkwendte.
As the Senior Designer, Kelsey is responsible for the conceptualization and design of solutions that support and strengthen Her Campus on all levels. While managing junior designers, Kelsey manages and oversees the creative needs of Her Campus’s 260+ chapters nationwide and abroad. Passionate about campaign ideation and finding innovative design solutions for brands, Kelsey works closely with the client services team to develop integrated marketing and native advertising campaigns for Her Campus clients such as Macy’s, UGG, Merck, Amtrak, Intel, TRESemmé and more. A 2012 college graduate, Kelsey passionately pursued English Literature, Creative Writing and Studio Art at Skidmore College. Born in and native to Massachusetts, Kelsey supplements creative jewelry design and metal smithing with a passion for fitness and Boston Bruins hockey. Follow her on Twitter: @kelsey_thornFollow her on Instagram: @kelsey_thorn