Looking for the best road trip planner apps, tools and hacks to help you plan your perfect road trip? Look no further! We've compiled all the essential road trip apps you need- including ones to help with planning a road trip, apps to use whilst on your road trip and tools we couldn't (and wouldn't) road trip without!
Before we found these tools, road trip planning and organising used to take HOURS. Or even days. Now, we're a lot quicker- partly because we've compiled road trip checklists and gear, but partly because these apps make it easy. Promise.
Whether you're roadtripping in the USA with friends, exploring Europe in a camper or setting off on a road trip with kids *gulp*- these are the only road trip planner tools you need.
Pssst- want to travel healthily on your road trip? Check out these awesome, easy and HEALTHY snacks for road trip travels!
The BEST Road Trip Planner Apps and Tools to plan your road trip
I've said it before (Here in fact), Google Maps is amazing for planning a road trip. And it's free. (Actually, many of these road trip planner apps and tools are free- we're thoughtful like that!)
We use Google maps to put together a visual guide to places we want to visit- and then we use it to plan a route. You can see how we do it here
Another option is using Guru maps for offline navigation
Pinterest is an AMAZING road trip planner resource! There are destination guides, things to do, road trip kit reviews and everything else you need! I never used to use it for anything other than recipes- what a mistake! Now, it's the first place I go to look for new ideas when we're heading off.
You'll be pleased to know Wandering Bird is on Pinterest too, sharing destination guides, travel tips and yep- road trip planner tools!- You can follow us on Pinterest here
This is another site I think we underuse in Europe, but it's a great road trip planner. Use it in the same way as Google maps, but there are also many other cool features; it estimates how much money you'll spend on fuel and how far you have to drive, among other things.
Instagram is a road trip planner's paradise! So many amazing destinations, secret locations and beautiful places are shared every single day. Just search the hashtag #roadtrip or your planned destination and see what comes up!
Facebook might not be your first thought for road trip planning apps, but if you ask a question on a relevant facebook group, you'll get LOADS of ideas and info to help you plan your trip. I love asking advice from real people who've been there- and I find people are more likely to respond on Facebook, rather than Instagram.
You can find us on Facebook too- sharing tips, destination advice or general silliness- check out our page HERE
Road Trip Travel Blogs
Not an app, but travel blogs are a fantastic road trip planning tool. To find one for the area you're planning to road trip to, just search ‘Road Trip Blog ________' You'll find people have road tripped all over the place and you can use their suggestions and favourite places in your road trip planner.
I hope if you're heading to Europe you'll find a certain road trip blog especially useful *cough cough* Feel free to sign up to our resource library so you can get useful road trip checklists, travel planning tips and destination guides.
Road trip forums are a great source of information- if you use them correctly and accept that there are many people in there who talk a lot, but haven't necessarily DONE a lot.
That said, there can be some really good road trip planner advice and info- again, type into Google ‘Road Trip Forum for _____' or even travel forums if you're looking for destination advice for a particular location. The only downside to forums is you often have to sign up/ register before you can get access.
Other awesome Road Trip planner tools we recommend
Ok, so you've planned your road trip destination and started plotting places into your chosen road trip planner- but now WHAT??
If you don't have a vehicle for your road trip, check out:
I LOVE this site. What a brilliantly awesome idea to help you plan and cut your costs for a road trip. Basically, people just like you and me list their RVs, campers and even trucks- and other people rent them out! Seriously, there are a HUGE number of vehicles on there, all over the world, available for rent at really reasonable prices.
If you're looking for low-cost vehicle rental, this is a great place to start! Just please be aware that, as with many sites like this, there is the potential for unscrupulous people to take advantage. If in doubt, pick another van or hire through an approved rental agency.
So, now you've got a road trip destination, an overflowing road trip planner and a vehicle! Last planning tip- get some:
A packing checklist can be invaluable- especially if you're roadtripping and moving around regularly. It is SO easy to forget something silly as you travel – so get yourself a packing checklist to make it easier.
You can either use a FREE app like My Trip List, which allows you to customise a packing list.
Useful Road trip planner apps whilst ON your road trip
The fun doesn't stop just coz you've started travelling! Oh no, if you're anything like us, you'll keep planning your road trip as you're on the road! After all, what's the point in having an adventure if you can't be adventurous?!?
Navigating is hard enough on a road trip- without getting your camper stuck down a narrow street! This app works on any iPad or phone with GPS and allows you to input the dimensions of your vehicle so you can avoid streets and bridges which are too small. Read our full review of CoPilot here.
Google Translate App to convert languages
Road tripping to another country? Get the Google Translate app. This is one of our favourite road trip planner apps- because it's so darn useful. Just open the app and hold it up to a sign, menu, paper, whatever- and Google Translate will translate the words into your chosen language! This is BRILLIANT for roadtripping Europe where the languages change constantly and we don't always speak them very well.
I LOVE this app. I use it all the time and it's so freaking easy- and FREE!! Find a great recipe on Pinterest or Google, make it, and then save the recipe to your recipe book app, so it's there for the next time you want to cook it. The app syncs between ipad and phone, which is great- I can grab whichever is closest to hand. I prefer following a recipe from a larger screen, but having the app on the phone is SO useful when I'm shopping and can't decide what I want to cook for dinner.
The BEST app in the UK for telling you where you can safely and legally fly your drone. It's a brilliant and easy-to-use app and we use it whenever we want to get our drone out… or at least we did, until we lost our drone in Lake Annecy *sob* Hopefully by the time you read this we'll have another one ready to go! We haven't found a similar app for use in Europe or North America- if you know of one, please let me know and I'll update this list.
Find fuel with these great road trip planning apps:
If you have refillable LPG gas installed on your motorhome (one of our Road Trip essentials!), this app is brilliant for finding places where you can fill up. Most of the locations are current and the app/ website are updated frequently.
This is one for my American friends- find the cheapest gas along your route. (To avoid confusion, by gas I mean petrol. Or diesel. Not gas for cooking.) I asked my group of road tripping RVers which app they recommend and this one was top of the list!!
Road Trip planner apps to help you find somewhere to stay
If you haven't booked a campsite or a hotel, you'll need to find places to stop as you road trip. Here are some of the best apps to help with finding somewhere to stay as you road trip:
If you're exploring Europe, this is THE app to have to help you find free or cheap parking spots. You can even use this in advance as a road trip planner- find suitable looking spots and add them to your itinerary or Google maps before you go. I'm pleased to see Park4night is now coming to the US and Canada too- more and more overnight spots are popping up.
Campercontact is another overnight stop app, but what I love about this one is that you can set your vehicle height and length in order to find appropriate spots. We use this app a LOT when we have a trailer, as many aires or free spaces are too small for us.
Allstays has a range of campgrounds, rest stops and free camping spots across the US. I believe most of the free places are only available if you buy the Pro version, but there seems to be a LOT of options on there, which would be a great way to help plan your road trip. iOverlander is another option to find places to stay.
Road Trip planner apps to make the miles go faster!
I have become a huge podcast fan over the last few months. They are perfect for driving- and there's a HUGE range to choose from. Even better- they're free! I like educational podcasts- learning things helps keeps me awake as I drive, but there are all sorts of different road trip podcasts to choose from and make the miles fly by. Jump onto your podcast app and see what appeals!
Another awesome app. Find and download audio books, listen to them, then return them! I'm slowly working my way through the Harry Potter books- Stephen Fry's voice is just magical and it's one the whole family enjoys listening to. Sign up to Audible here and get a FREE TRIAL!
Whether you are a die-hard spotify user or an iTunes convert, I think most people agree that all good road trips need an awesome playlist! This section should probably be in road trip planning- creating the perfect playlist takes time, you know!
Want some ideas to get you started? Here are 150 of the BEST Road Trip songs!
There are very very few books I can read more than once. Even if it was a good one- once I know the end, it's dead to me. (Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are notable exceptions to this rule!) What I LOVE about Kindle Unlimited is you can read a book and then return it- and there are some BRILLIANT, well-known books and authors on there. It's a proper library, ready for you to explore, for only a few pounds (or dollars!) a month. See what you could be reading on your road trip HERE (there's even a 30-day free trial!)
Notes for Budgeting
Yep, notes. This is what I use for all our budgeting and diary for our road trips. Heck, sometimes I use it as a road trip planner before we even leave!
No, it's not sexy and yes, there are apps out there which do budgeting and diary entries and everything else- but I find it so easy to grab my phone every time we stop for fuel/ shopping/ an attraction and make a quick note on what we spent and what we thought!
I've used notes for years to keep track of our spending as we travel- then I can write it up into a spreadsheet when we return or when we're stopped in one place for a few days. Whatever you choose, definitely get a way to keep track of your spending!
PSSNGR for Splitwise
You've heard of Splitwise, right? It's a brilliant app which allows friends to split the bill on things like meals out, rent, bills, etc. PSSNGR is an extension of that- but it's designed for car shares. It can calculate and split the cost of a road trip, with fuel costs, snacks, meals etc- perfect for when you're road tripping with friends!
Does anyone else have 3 different weather apps on their phone… and they look at all of them until they get a forecast they like? I definitely do that, but then I tend to believe what Accuweather says! The app is a great road trip planner tool as it can help you prepare for the weather ahead- essential for road trip safety.
Star Gazing App
One of my favourite things about road trips is getting far enough away from the world so we can enjoy the night sky in all its glory. I have only seen the Milky Way ONCE- and I plan to see it again as often as possible because it was breathtaking.
There are several star apps available, which will show you which stars and planets you are looking at as you gaze in wonder at the sky. There's also one called Photopills, which will help you line up the perfect shot of the Milky Way (it also works for sunrise/ sunsets.)
Can't go on your own road trip?
Check out ‘Roads by Porsche'- a road trip app filled with videos of other people driving some of the most beautiful roads on this planet! It's a perfect road trip planner app- but it's also a lovely way to while away a rainy afternoon, dreaming about your next adventure!
I hope you find these travel apps useful. Is there one you LOVE which I've missed? Let me know! If you enjoyed this and think others would find it useful, please share on Facebook or Pinterest.
More road trip tips: