Part of the allure of a road trip is making spontaneous stops, and even detours. Never seen the World’s Largest Can of Spinach? In the market for some South of the Border Fireworks? Road trips are your chance for adventure. But to avoid extra costs and frustrations, you’ll want to have a good idea of your route and how many hours you and your companions want to be on the road each day. Apps like Roadtrippers and Tripit can help you plan your drive down to the last detail, from lodging to sightseeing, and everything in between. In fact, we’ve come so far from AAA’s mail order TripTiks that Quoted rounded up the best apps and websites for serious road trip bliss.
Below, our suggestions for executing a road trip with the perfect mix of spontaneity and planning.
Planning Your Route
Taking a road trip isn’t the same as driving from point A to point B. A road trip, of course, is just as much about the journey as the destination. It’ll take you almost 30 hours to drive from Chicago to Los Angeles and if you’re making the trip to realize silver screen dreams, you could finish the drive in two days, tops. But making the same drive as a bonafide Road Trip? You’ll want to allot at least five or six days. In general, we suggest four to five hours, max, of driving each day. So plan accordingly.
How to Find the Best Place to Stay
Most good road trips have at least a couple of overnight stays, and hotels abound. But if you want to take your road trip adventure to the next level we suggest experimenting with Airbnb. For instance, instead of staying at the Marriott in Atlanta while on your southern adventure, you could stay in a gorgeous tree house instead.
If you find yourself in unexpected territory and in need of a bed, apps like iExit have you covered. In addition to showing you nearby food and gas, iExit will show available lodgings, as well. It’ll even offer hotel deals.
How to Find the Best Eats
Eating—in the form of both pit stops and car snacks—is an essential part of any road trip. Sampling local cuisines and discovering fantastic food at hole-in-the-wall places are what post-road trip tales are made of. To discover as you go, we love Road Food: you’ll never miss out on the best burger north of New York City or the best fried chicken in Montana.
For quick bites along your route (instead of the golden arches), check out Along the Way. The app lists restaurants along your entire route, so if there’s a better pizza joint a few exits down, you’ll know you don’t have to settle.
How to Find the Cheapest Gas
Finding gas along the highway isn’t difficult. Every interstate sign will list your options. But, if you’re looking to save some green (who isn’t?), you can find the least expensive gas wherever you are with Gas Buddy.
How to Entertain
The Roadtrip mixtape webapp will make a playlist for each leg of your journey and, even cooler, each playlist will feature music from local artists and artists who got their start in the places you’re traveling through.
Additional Road Trip Tips from Quoted
- What to pack in your car’s emergency kit
- Advice for your first road trip with a new love
- Best road trip cars
- In case you need roadside assistance
- And if you’re traveling with small children, be sure to check out our tips and tricks to help make the whole car happy.
Got some tips and tricks of your own? We’d love to hear about them in the comments (road trip tall-tales welcome).