We like Waze because the social navigation app does the job of both GasBuddy and Trapster, serving up crowdsourced fuel prices, road hazards, and speed traps. Plus, Waze offers great turn-by-turn navigation with traffic data. Of course, Android and iPhone users have a number of great choices for navigation apps, including Scout by Telenav, Magellan RoadMate, and, of course, Google Maps.
You're on the open road, exploring new and curious places. So why would you want to eat the same slop that you could have at home? Food Tripping helps you find local restaurants and healthy alternatives to fast-food chains wherever you are. But it's not all organic coffee shops and sustainable vegan eateries. Food Tripping can also be used to find local microbreweries. Just don't drink and drive.
Sometimes, you just want to hit the road now and figure out the nagging details later. But you have to sleep somewhere for longer, multiday trips. For those who heed adventure's call without stopping to plan, there's Hotel Tonight to bail you out. With this app you can search nearby hotels in 12 countries for last-minute deals.
For those who like to plan ahead, there's TripIt. This app organizes your hotel reservations and travel plans in one place. Just drop all of your destinations and information into the app, and you'll be presented with a neat itinerary. TripIt will also organize flight information, if your trip includes aeronautical travel, making it useful beyond the summer road trip season.
Glympse lets you share your location with someone or a group of someones in your social network as privately or as publicly as you'd like. Just tell the app who you want to share your location with and for how long you'd like to share that information, and it will present them with a live-updating map of your location via SMS, e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. It's a good way to let your loved ones know where you are and that you're OK without having to actually touch your phone.
SitOrSquat is either a very clever or a very juvenile name for an app that helps you find nearby public restrooms. However you look at it, it's very useful when you're on the road and you've gotta go. Each restroom listed comes with a user rating of cleanliness, and you can add your own rating after your visit.
Google Maps, Scout, and Waze are great navigators, but they only really work when you have a data connection. If you happen to find yourself off the grid, having a secondary offline navigation app like CoPilot GPS can be a lifesaver. Just be sure to download the free maps for the areas you plan to travel to before you hit the road; you'll only have to sacrifice a few gigs of storage space.
There are dozens of great music, audiobook, and podcatcher apps for Android and iOS, including Audible, Pandora, Google Play Music with All Access, DoggCatcher, iHeartRadio, and Stitcher. And then there's your personal library of MP3s.
We've called out Spotify because it offers the best of many different worlds. Without a subscription, the app offers free Internet radio streaming. With a subscription, it gives you unlimited access to any album in its catalog. It even offers offline storage of user playlists, so you can keep listening when your travels take you away from the beaten path and off of the grid.
TuneIn gets our nod of approval for making it possible for you listen to your hometown radio stations from anywhere out on the road, as long as they stream to the Internet. Heck, it doesn't even have to be your hometown's stations. Want to listen to local radio in Paris while you drive across Arizona? TuneIn has you covered.
Roadside America is for iOS only (sorry, Android users), but the app is too perfectly suited for this list for us to simply skip. What it does is put a searchable, mappable listing of thousands of roadside attractions, natural wonders, and oddities at your fingertips. If you're the type of road tripper who brakes for Muffler Men, crazy rock formations, and giant rubber-band balls, you'll want to plunk down $2.99 for Roadside America.