Getting From A to Z: Best Apps for Smooth Road Travel

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

Years ago, if you got lost when traveling you would stop at a gas station to ask for directions. If you ran into car trouble, you would have to wait on the side of the road for a good Samaritan to stop and help. If you had to "go", you would have to just hope for a rest stop at the next exit, or pull over and head out into the bushes.

Those days are long gone. Now your phone is an indispensable vacation companion, helping to guide you in every way possible. With the right apps, you can feel more confident on the open road.

These days, your phone is your navigator, your agent, your concierge, your travel everything.


No one wants to spend their vacation sitting in traffic. Although traffic apps just about come standard on any phone, they're not always accurate, and what they tell you is limited. For a smooth, traffic-free ride from point A to point Z, you need this navigation app. Developed by search giant Google, Waze will keep you informed and up to date of what's ahead.

    Why you need this app:
  • Provides real-time updates of road conditions
  • Information is frequently submitted by other users
  • Get all types of traffic warnings, including accidents, junk in the road, and police patrols


On a long road trip, you'll likely make a few pit stops along the way, but where can you eat? What restaurants are cash-only or require a credit card? Where can you spend the night? What about bathrooms? Are there any cool attractions nearby? The iExit app has all the answers, as it shows you what amenities are available at each exit on your route.

    Why you need this app:
  • Find out what gas stations, restaurants, stores, hotels, attractions, and more are at upcoming exits
  • Know accurately how far off your route you have to travel to make a stop
  • Use the app to plan out stops on your journey ahead of time

Gas Buddy

One of the biggest expenses of a road trip is gas. Prices vary widely from state to state, city to city, and station to station. Wouldn't it be nice to always know where to find the cheapest gas? This app shows you gas prices on a map of all the different stations around your current location.

    Why you need this app:
  • Compare gas prices to find the cheapest station and cut your travel costs
  • Get a map of generally up-to-date user-provided information to know where to gas up

Flush Toilet Finder

The one thing you can never plan on a road trip is when you'll need to use the bathroom. Rest areas are usually tens of miles apart, and not every exit is home to businesses that offer public toilets. With the Flush Toilet Finder app, you don't have to worry about getting stuck having to hold it. This app shows you the way to the nearest bathrooms.

    Why you need this app:
  • Always know how long you have to wait until you'll see the next bathroom

Highway Hero

One thing that sometimes gets overlooked on a successful road trip is the skill of the driver. Your driving habits will determine how safely you make it to your destination, but also how much gas you're burning up. If you are frequently on the road, then you need this app. It will track how you drive and provide tips on how you can improve.

    Why you need this app:
  • Get useful driving data on yourself, such as if you're looking at your phone too much, hitting the brakes too hard, taking too many sharp turns and so on
  • Learn how to improve your driving for more enjoyable and safer trips in the future

Tom Tom

Get a better, more realistic view of the road ahead. Most navigation apps give you a crude representation of the landscape. It's easy to miss a turn or end up in the wrong lane because things look completely different in real life. The Tom Tom app uses multicolor 3-D imaging to display your route. That'll give you a more accurate picture of how to get around unfamiliar territory.

    Why you need this app:
  • The 3-D imaging helps you easily navigate new and unfamiliar areas
  • You won't get caught off guard, as users share information on speed traps and cameras

AAA Mobile App

Nothing ruins a road trip like breaking down, getting a flat tire, or running out of gas. If you're a AAA member, then don't leave home without this app. In addition to providing roadside assistance, it shows you all the AAA-approved locations on your route, and it features helpful trip-planning tools.

    Why you need this app:
  • You can quickly request roadside assistance right from your app
  • Use it to find AAA-approved restaurants, hotels, gas stations, and more
  • Don't have to worry about finding your AAA card, as the app gives you access to your card to arrange for assistance and to score discounts at participating locations

Mobile Banking App

Whatever bank you use, chances are it has its own mobile banking app. When on the road, it can be hard or impossible to find a physical bank branch, but with your bank's mobile app, you won't have to. You can bank on the go. Most banking apps let you do everything you would do at a physical location: access your banked funds, find an ATM, deposit checks, pay bills, transfer funds, etc.

    Why you need this app:
  • You'll have access to your money wherever you are
  • It'll help you stay on top of your bills when on the go
  • When in need of cash, you'll be able to locate the nearest ATM and avoid hefty fees

Making Road Travel a Breeze

These days, your phone is your navigator, your agent, your concierge, your travel everything. Travel apps will help keep you from getting lost, getting a speeding ticket and getting stranded. Before your next road trip, make sure you've downloaded these travel apps. They can help make road travel a more stress-free and enjoyable experience.