Last updated on March 2nd, 2021 at 04:37 pm
The invention of the smartphone forever changed road trips. There is a free app to help you with every aspect of a road trip from fueling up for the best price, to finding a cheap place to lay your head.
33 Handy & Free Apps For Road Trips Taken By Car Or RV
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Of course, this list of apps would is totally useless if you don’t have good cell phone coverage. You can’t get that for free, but you can get it for a great price over at Tracfone. We have been using Tracfone on at least one of our cell phones for close to two decades because we love their coverage and low rates that much.
My husband had their service during our 5 1/2 month trip across the USA and he had cell coverage more often than the rest of us who were using Ting at the time (but Ting’s customer service is so top-notch it was hard to say goodbye to them). Currently all five of us are using Tracfone with our plans costing from $22 to $28 a month per phone.
If you try Tracfone, make sure you join their rewards program too. When you do, you will earn points that you can cash in for data and more. During sign-up, use my Tracfone rewards referral code YEUQ-AB4F to start your reward with bonus points (currently 5000 points, which is enough for 5GB of data, but the offer could change at any time).
This list is full of free apps that Jack and I either use on our trips or have heard about them from others we trust. However, there is one paid app that we do recommend to road trippers. That app is the Allstays app. Unfortunately it is only available to iPhone users, but we love it so much that despite how thrifty we are we pay more for an iPhone just so that we can keep it. Yep–we think it is that good!
The Allstays app will tell you what gas stations are coming up, how big they are, and the amenities they offer. It will tell you when the next rest area is and how big it is, what amenities it has, and if you can spend the night there. It will tell you when the next Walmart is and show you reviews from others who spent the night there. The features go on and on, but this post is supposed to be about free apps for road trips, so on with the list.
Free Apps For Road Trips
Please note that several of these apps have paid memberships and other paid options, but the free portions are still valuable.
1. Google Maps
I think it is a rare person who doesn’t know or use Google Maps.
Finding A Free Place To Camp
During our week-long trip to the West Virginia portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway we used this app to find free campsites in nearby national forests.
3. RV Parky
Jack and I have not used this, but I watch several RV traveling YouTubers who use it and like it.
Our campsite just outside New River Gorge National Park, WV.
Finding A Paid Place To Camp
4. The Dyrt
If you like to read reviews for paid campsites before booking as we do, then download and use The Dyrt.
Finding Gas At A Good Price Or Reducing The Cost Of Fuel
5. Gas Buddy
This is an app the hubby and I often forget about, but it always saves us cash when we do use it. I would not recommend it for those pulling an RV behind them or driving a big motor home as it doesn’t tell you details about the gas station. This app is better for those traveling in a car, truck camper, or van.
We recently signed up for GetUpside and plan to start using it during this month’s weekend getaway.
From exploring the app, this is my understanding of how GetUpside works:
- Sign up for an account (and if you use my referral link here or enter my referral code YG5ZB into the promo code area during sign-up, you will receive a one time bonus of 15 cents off per gallon your first time using the app).
- Open up the “your wallet” tab and enter the first six and last four digits of the credit or debit card you usually pay for gas with (this helps them make sure it was actually your receipt you entered and not someone else’s).
- Open app to see participating gas stations in the area you are in and the cost per gallon, plus cash back they are offering GetUpside users.
- Claim the offer for the gas station you pick.
- Pay with the card you registered in the GetUpside app and then follow the app’s directions to check in or snap a picture of your receipt.
- Earn cash back and cash out those earnings whenever you want via Paypal, e-gift card, or mailed check.
Don’t forget you get an extra 15 cents off per gallon on your first gas purchase using GetUpside when you enter my promo code YG5ZB during sign-up (here is my referral link).
7. Pilot Rewards
Gas Buddy and GetUpside are handy if you drive a vehicle that can fit anywhere, but what if you are driving a large motor home or towing a travel trailer? Can you still save money at the larger truck stop-style gas stations that are not often in these apps? Yes, you can by downloading and using the Pilot Rewards (Flying-J) app. Inside the app, you will find a “fuel” tab, click on it and you will find a membership number that you can use at the pump to save 3 cents per gallon, plus instructions on how to use it.
If you have yet to sign up for the Pilot Rewards app, make sure you enter my referral code victoriah1164 during sign-up and be rewarded with a free drink.
Climbing Devil’s Marbleyard, VA.
For Finding Hiking Trails
Get out of the car and stretch your legs with a hike found in the AllTrails app.
For Finding Last Minute Hotels
1o. Hotel Tonight
We don’t stay in a hotel often, but when we do, these are the two apps we use to find a hotel at a reasonable price.
Our Airbnb during our time in Michigan City, Indiana.
For Staying In Touch With Your Airbnb Host
If you are like me and you use your laptop to book your Airbnb, don’t forget to download the app so that you can get directions and contact your host while on the road.
For Finding Unique Places To Explore Along The Way
Inside Roadtrippers, you can pick out what type of things you want to see and then map out your route and it will then highlight things off the route that might interest you. I tend to do this at home before leaving, but I know more spontaneous road trippers who love this app for planning on the fly.
I use the TripAdvisor website a lot to plan our trips. Although I don’t use the app, I have a feeling it would be just as handy.
(Yelp and Google are also good )
Pictures from our 5 1/2 month road trip taken with our kids.
For Editing Your Pictures
These are the two apps I use to edit my trip photos.
For Audio Entertainment On The Road
Free with a membership to most local libraries. Use it to download audiobooks and music.
Free with a membership to most local libraries. Use it to download audiobooks.
18. Amazon Music
Amazon Music is free if you have an Amazon prime membership. And since many people do, I thought I would mention it here. Download music before you leave to save on cellular data and ensure you can listen to your tunes the whole way, even if you lose cell coverage.
19. Your Podcast App Of Choice
Download a few podcasts to keep you entertained and perhaps even learning along the way.
Reading in the over the cab bed in our truck camper while soaking up Florida beach views.
For Entertainment Off-Road Or For The Passengers
Free with a membership to most local libraries. Use it to download audiobooks, movies, or ebooks.
21. Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is free if you have an Amazon prime membership. And since many people do, I thought I would mention it here. Download videos before you leave to save on cellular data and to ensure you can watch your shows no matter where you are.
For Sleeping In Unfamiliar Areas
22. White Noise App
There are plenty of free white noise apps out there that can help you fall asleep and stay asleep when the noises around you just don’t sound right.
Ralph’s donuts in Cookville, TN is a must-stop if you are in the area.
For Deciding Where To Eat
I don’t know too much about this app except that other road trippers rave about it.
24. Apps For Your Favorite Chain Restaurants
The one restaurant app we repeatedly use when traveling is Chick-Fil-A since their speedy service is awesome and their app is so user-friendly. Listed below are a few more apps we use with referral links that will give you a free treat for using them. I thought I would share the referral love with you.
Use my referral code Victor9966 during sign-up in the app and start your account with 50 points.
Use my referral code VICTAV4562during sign-up in the app, and you should get a free treat (the app doesn’t say what).
Use my referral code VICTORIQ840, and you should get a free item (the app doesn’t say what).
If you prefer locally-owned restaurants to chain-restaurants, Yelp and Google are pretty handy for finding great local eateries.
For The Bored Passenger
There are plenty of other free game apps out there, but these are my two favorites.
Enjoying a beautiful but chilly Fort Pickens, Florida sunset.
For The Weather Forecast
After trying several free weather apps, I found Weatherbug and have stayed with it. One of the numerous things I like about it is that you can see not only the true temperature, but also the “feels like” temperature. There can be a big difference between the two when you live and travel in the midwest.
For Deals On Local Attractions
29. Living Social
I have both these daily deal apps downloaded as I find that they often offer different deals.
Our favorite campfire side meal after long days hiking.
For Earning Something Back On Your Expenses
30. Rewards Credit Card App (only if you can handle credit cards wisely)
For All Your Travel Expenses
I am always a bit hesitant to share this money-saving tip without first saying that this tip is only for those of you who are not in credit card debt and always pay your credit card off in full every month.
If you like to travel and pay your credit card in full each month, I hope you are using a point rewards card and have its app downloaded on your phone to help you keep track of special offers and your spending. We have been using the United Airmiles card by Chase for the last few years and have already earned enough points for several airfare tickets.
If you are looking for a point rewards credit card and the United Airmiles card by Chase sounds like a good fit, use my referral link and start your account with bonus reward miles.
For Food & More
I have been using Ibotta for several years now and have earned dozens of gift cards. It is good for so much more than saving money on groceries; they work with all types of businesses, both brick and mortar and online. Go here to sign up for Ibotta.
For Grocery Purchases, Restaurants, And More
Use my referral code RE9FU at sign-up and receive bonus points when you complete your first receipt.
Fetch Rewards allows you to earn between 5 points to 25 points from each receipt you scan.
For All Your Travel Purchases
Open up the CoinOut app, hit scan, and snap a photo of your receipt. CoinOut will then reward you with a random amount of cents. I have earned as high as $0.08 for one receipt. Go here to sign up for CoinOut.
Now go download these apps and get out there and hit the road!
WHERE WE HAVE TRAVELED LATELY
POSTS TO HELP YOU TRAVEL MORE FOR LESS
Want to know how we afford to travel so often? It is because we have developed thrifty living principles that allow us to live a full life for less money. You can learn exactly what those economical living principles are when you read my book, Thrifty & Thriving: More Life For Less Money. You can stop dreaming about travel and start traveling when you apply the 40 thrifty living principles shared in this book.