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Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state and local advisories before scheduling trips.

One thing that hasn’t changed during these uncertain times is people’s wanderlust, and many travelers are turning to car trips to get their fix. Does this sound like you? Great—you’re not alone. Before you hit the open road, we’ve got you covered with the apps that will make traveling, eating and photo opps even better.

RELATED: 20 things to pack for your next road trip


You’re not going anywhere unless you fuel up first. Within the US (and Canada!) GasBuddy uses user-submitted data to help drivers plot their path and find the cheapest stations along the way. Bonus for those planning ahead: By enrolling in their Gasbuddy payment program, you can save an additional 3-5 cents per gallon.


The road less traveled may still end up in the same place (thank Robert Frost for that piece of knowledge), but what if it also contains some cool points of interest along the way? If you’re trying to cater to bored kids in the backseat, or just trying to amuse yourself on a long drive, download Roadtrippers, which will analyze all potential routes to a final location and help you find your most scenic option.

The Orbitz app

Sure, we might be biased but trust us, there are so many reasons the Orbitz app may be your ultimate road trip companion. Book hotels along the way and save up to 40%—deals you’ll only see on the Orbitz app; most offer free cancellation for added peace of mind during uncertain times. Plus, if you  sign up for Orbitz Rewards (it’s free to join!), you’ll earn more in-app: Get 5% back in Orbucks on hotels, as well as 1% back on flights and packages, good toward more hotel stays. The Orbitz app also sends you reservation updates like hotel checkout notices, and other real-time travel updates.

Google Maps

Already know your route? This is a no-brainer, but make sure you’ve downloaded Google Maps. Not only will it give you turn-by-turn instructions (vital, when you don’t know where you’re going), thanks to the My Maps feature, you can plug in up to 500 interest points and stops along the way. Just be sure to download maps ahead of time if you’re headed to the mountains or a rural area where it might be tough to get a cell signal.


The iExit app covers basically everything you’d exit the highway for—gas, lodging, coffee and food. The latter is why we love it, though. The app’s partnership with Yelp means you don’t have to eat unhealthy chain food your entire trip; instead you can search local dining spots nearby, see photos and read reviews. Just remember that every state in the union, and even different counties and towns, are on a different schedule for reopening after COVID, so be sure to check local restrictions.


We’re going to state the obvious: Driving for long periods of time can be boring unless you have a way to occupy your mind. (Good luck hunting for radio stations in those uber rural areas.) That’s where Spotify comes in. There’s a free version but for $9.99 a month, users can skip the ads, listen to more than 50 million songs and 700,000 podcasts—even without being online. In offline mode, you’ll never have to worry about your tunes fuzzing out when cellular coverage fizzles.

Trail Wallet

Road trips are a great way to travel for the budget conscious, but all those 7-Eleven stops, gas and hotel splurges can add up if you’re not careful. Trail Wallet is an expense tracker specifically designed for travelers, with options to organize your budget via month or trip, with clear-cut functions that’ll assure you’re never left walking home.

Your parents probably had AAA and while it’s a lifesaver in terms of road side assistance, there are apps for that now, too. One is, which describes itself as an Uber for road side assistance. The $70 annual membership fee (get 10% off the first year) gives you quick access to towing, jump starts, tire changes, lockouts and more.


Okay so chances are you’re already one of Instagram’s one billion worldwide users. But even if you’re not into showing off your #InstaGood moments, the app can also secretly function as a road trip planner’s best friend. Not sure if that point of interest really as cool as it claims, or if that restaurant really comes through with the goods? Thanks to its location features, you can see hundreds of photos (and even a few reviews) all in one place.


Orbitz, app, iPhone, travel, deals

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Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Laura Studarus

Laura Studarus

Laura is a writer/vagabond with bylines in Marie Claire, Vice, Bandcamp and Lenny Letter. Sometimes she can go several hours without a cup of tea. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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