Travel

10 Free Travel Apps for Your Road Trip

Downloading these mobile applications can help you save time and money when you travel.

My family recently took a road trip out West, and we relied heavily on technology to help us get where we were going, find restaurants and attractions once we were there and book last-minute lodging when our Grand Canyon camping plans were thwarted by extremely high winds. Several mobile applications were especially helpful during our two-week trip. Here are ten free ones you should consider downloading if you plan on hitting the road for the Fourth of July weekend:

Google Maps provides step-by-step directions, satellite and street views, and tracks you as you drive along your route so you can see how close you are to your destination. If you have an Android, you can download Google Maps Navigation, which speaks directions to you so you don't have to watch your phone as your drive.

GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest gas prices near you (Android, iPhone, Windows Phone).

AAA TripTik Mobile provides gas prices, maps and directions, as well as AAA Approved hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, attractions and auto repair shops (Android and iPhone).

TripAdvisor has reviews and photos of hotels (as well as restaurants and attractions) so you don't end up some place sketchy. The Near Me Now tool helps you find options near you or a particular address (Android, iPhone, Nokia, Palm, Windows).

Priceline Hotel Negotiator works like Priceline.com, which lets you bid on hotel rooms and score discounted lodging. The benefit of the app is that it lets you see winning bids for accommodations near you (iPhone).

Yelp is great for finding restaurants, shops, attractions and more because it provides reviews, star ratings and directions to help you get to the place you want to go. For restaurants, you can filter your search by food type and price or just click on "nearby" to see which establishments are closest (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone).

Gowalla is a social networking app that lets you check in at restaurants, stores, and more and share recommendations. In addition to user-generated recommendations, Gowalla includes trip guides created by National Geographic, USA Today and other publications (Android, Blackberry, iPhone and Palm).

Goby helps you finds free events and activities near you (Android, iPhone).

Free Wi-Fi Finder shows you where hotspots are so you don't have to pay to connect to the Internet (in case you want to get on your computer and surf the Web rather than look at your phone's tiny screen).

Pandora Radio lets you create your own stations to play music you like so you're not stuck listening to the limited options on your car's radio or the same CD again and again (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Palm).

Bonus: Don't forget to download games to keep the kids occupied. There are plenty of free ones and several that are a few bucks (and well worth the small price).

Follow me on Twitter

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
25 Best Kirkland Products You Should Buy at Costco
Smart Buying

25 Best Kirkland Products You Should Buy at Costco

Many of warehouse club Costco's store-branded Kirkland Signature items get high marks for quality and value. Check out our picks.
July 21, 2021
Warning: You May Have to Pay Back Your Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments
Tax Breaks

Warning: You May Have to Pay Back Your Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments

Unlike stimulus checks, you might have to repay your monthly child tax credit payments if you get too much money from the IRS.
July 16, 2021

Recommended

What You Must Know About Tipping While Traveling
Travel

What You Must Know About Tipping While Traveling

Relax, you're on vacation. Use these six tips to establish a tipping plan that eliminates stress.
July 14, 2021
Tax-Free Weekends (or Weeks) for Back-to-School Shopping
Tax Breaks

Tax-Free Weekends (or Weeks) for Back-to-School Shopping

Sales tax holidays are a great way to save money on clothes, shoes, backpacks, school supplies, and other back-to-school necessities.
July 12, 2021
8 Things You Must Know About Retiring to the Carolinas
retirement

8 Things You Must Know About Retiring to the Carolinas

From the picturesque beach towns to cozy mountain communities, North Carolina and South Carolina offer retirees plenty of incentives.
July 12, 2021
22 Secrets to Save Money on Travel
Travel

22 Secrets to Save Money on Travel

We all dream of taking that perfect solo or family vacation, but planning on a budget can be hard.
July 10, 2021