5 Great Apps for your Holiday Road Trip

Head over the river and through your on-the-road boredom with these great road trip-friendly apps.

holiday safety guide for icy road

Would you believe that 98.5 million Americans will hit the road this holiday season? Gas prices are low ($2.36 a gallon) and could drop another 15 to 20 cents before the end of the year. Plus, Christmas and New Year’s Day both fall on Thursdays this year, meaning the travel period extends for some lucky folks all the way through Sunday, January 4th. In other words: Many of us will be logging some serious pavement time in the next several weeks. So what’s a bored, weary, hungry traveler to do with all that time behind the wheel? And how can you lifehack your holiday travel? Easy: There’s an app for that.

Apps to Hack Your Trip

Localfu’s tagline is “Don’t be a Tourist,” and thanks to the app, you really don’t have to be: With Localfu, you can get personalized suggestions from real locals who know their stuff for just five bucks. It’s a community for locals and travelers to connect, share fantastic things to do, and participate in local communities wherever they go. So the next time you’re passing through a town and wondering how to spend your pit stop, why not ask a local? “While most people use us for their main destination, we have a handful of smaller locations that road trippers might be driving through,” says founder Roger Graham. “Asking some of our locals what to do on your way passing by town could make any road trip an experience!”

He adds that the locals who come on board to explain their town are always passionate: “That’s one of the coolest parts, too – most of our locals sign up because they want travelers to love their town as much as they do, so they put extra time into making sure your trip is incredible.”

Similarly, the Find.Eat.Drink. iPhone app features eating and drinking guides based on recommendations—but these are from well-known chefs, bartenders, sommeliers and baristas around the world for their favorite restaurants, bars, coffee shops and farmers markets. Imagine, instead of stopping at a chain restaurant on your travels, finding that special local barbecue joint recommended by a famous pit master, an off the beaten track taco stand or a farm-to-table restaurant by an award-wining chef.

The app currently boasts 5,000 places in more than 200 cities and towns in the US, Canada, Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean. There are more than 700 pros (chefs, bartenders, sommeliers) and new ones added on a constant basis. The app also works offline, so travelers will not incur roaming charges. It’s like having a chef on speed dial—and it’s free.

We'll help you hack your trip.
We’ll help you hack your trip.

Apps To Keep the Kiddos Happy

Founded by a media exec and dad after his own young son unintentionally started watching an adult movie (even after he had removed the adult channels from his cable box), Kidoodle.TV is an on-demand video service for kids 12 and under. The service features a line up of both entertainment and educational programs from the likes of Hasbro, National Geographic, DHX and more. As a bonus, it’s also commercial free. Even better still, Kidoodle.TV boasts a robust suite of unique, customizable parental controls and viewing time limits, letting parents set the parameters before turning the device back over to their kids to navigate. And Kidoodle.TV is the first kids SVOD of its size to be awarded both the PTPA and kidSAFE Seals of approval. It is available for PC, Mac computers, and Apple and Android devices—making it great for those long stretches of lonely highway.

Give your young ones a shot of the past revisited: Hungry Bunnies 3D is based off of that brilliant arcade classic, Whack-a-Mole, and brings the arcade game to life. The fast-paced environment requires the players to knock-out the woodland creatures before they steal your food. As you progress through the levels, the creatures become faster and stronger, so quick fingers are a necessity. Trust us: We included this one in the kid’s section, but the game is entertaining for all ages. It’s currently available on iTunes and Google play.

And an App to Save You Cash

Sure, gas prices are low, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth driving another block or two to save a few effortless cents! Enter GasBuddy, the classic app that lets you find the cheapest gas on the go—and for free. Part of what makes GasBuddy so cool is its reporting system: For every gas price you report, you can earn points towards a prize giveaway. Basically, GasBuddy is like crowdsourcing your cheap gas hunt—so you can focus on more important things, like are we there yet?!

  • NorthMan

    I would also add a good navigational app that can save your time and money during your travel. As for me, I prefer Spyglass. It works great when offline, assuming that you pre-download maps that you need. It also have many useful features, such as marking waypoints, saving spots, measuring your speed and distance to the target, sharing locations with friends and much more.