Heading out for your next big trip used to be an extensive, heartily-planned endeavor. Often times, it would include weeks of preparation and mapping alongside a generous helping of “let’s just wing it” in order to get from one place to the next. And unless you were a tried-and-true renaissance man when it came to deciphering the complexities of the topographic map, you were on your own — with only your wits and common sense to guide you. These days, however, technology has made everything a little more intuitive, especially in the realm of driving and travel. Looking for the fastest way to get to work? There’s an app for that. Looking for the nearest mechanic to give your car a quick tune? There’s an app for that, too. So whether you’re looking to meet a community of like-minded individuals who just want to know where to find the best gas stations in the surrounding area or map out your next cross-country trip, rest assured that there’s something out there for you.
We know that heading out onto the open road might be a bit daunting, even by today’s standards, so we’re going to outline a handful of the best driving apps for the modern day driver. Below, we’ll cover necessities like daily commute trackers and mapping interfaces, all the way to parking, fuel, and quality-of-life apps that will make your trip inherently better. While most of these will provide an intuitive way to track, plan, and quantify your next big trip, always remember that there’s no substitute for real-life experience. So don’t waste another second of your time worrying about the logistics of your commute and dive right into our list on the best driving apps for road-faring fanatics.
If you’re heading out onto the open road, there are always a few essential things that you should bring along — including tools, backup supplies for hydration and sustenance, a cell phone, and a map. Luckily, the GasBuddy app integrates a handful of these things to provide you with up-to-date information on nearby gas stations, low prices, and newly-implemented discounts on fuel while you’re out and about. When it comes to filling up your tank, we know better than anyone that every cent counts. GasBuddy is the perfect way to ensure you’re getting the best deal on local fuel wherever you go.
One of the most iconic peripherals associated with road-faring endeavors is the map. But for most individuals, the ability to use a map is dependent on prior knowledge. With the advent of technology, the ability to orient yourself in the right direction has become as simple as ever, leaving most without a need for the traditional navigation tool. Though Google’s proprietary Maps app has been around for quite some time, it’s only gotten better with age — boasting the ability to calculate commute times, advise more optimized routes to your destination, pin (and share) landmarks, locations, and roadways, and give you up-to-date information on the world’s most high- and low-volume drives.
If you’ve ever wanted an easy way to track your mileage, expenses, and documentation of business and private commutes, we’ve got just the app for you. MileIQ is a simplistic interface that gives you the power to track your drives, commutes, and trips in the background, without having to worry about a dedicated device (or program) taking over your phone or Sat Nav. If you’re driving for business, swipe right; if you’re driving for pleasure, swipe left — it’s as easy as that. MileIQ seeks to revise the complexities that are often associated with more in-depth tracking apps, bringing you a minimalist interface that makes tracking your expenses for parking, tolls, and fuel easier than ever.
Sometimes, parking in a big city can become more of a hassle than it’s worth — especially when you’re running late to a meeting, get together, or important event. Parkify looks to remedy the complexities of inner-city parking by automatically marking your location as you come to a stop, thanks, in large part, to the use of your phone’s accelerometers. Now, you don’t have to worry about marking your position manually, or stress over your phone’s memory being cleared due to unwarranted power failure, GPS shenanigans, or other off-the-wall mishaps. If you’re looking for an intuitive app that has your best interests in mind, Parkify has you covered.
In the vein of many others on this list, Porsche’s Roads app looks to bring like-minded drivers together for the ultimate exercise in road-faring endeavors, offering a space where individuals can communicate, bond, and share their adventures with others. Not only does this app let you share and find the world’s most epic routes, but it also allows you to rate, review, and recommend your favorite drives to your friends, as well as the app’s community. In the words of Porsche, the Roads app is “designed for people who look at driving as more than just a means of transportation,” bringing together enthusiasts of all shapes, sizes, and colors to illuminate the world’s best roads for others.
Roadtrippers is an all-in-one app for those who place a large emphasis on their enjoyment of the open road, setting records, plans, and novelties into the palm of your hand via your smartphone. This modular app helps you with recommendations for everything from short weekend getaways and local attractions, all the way to cross-country road trips that would typically take extensive planning to pull off. Roadtrippers is your one-stop-shop for an extensive listing of national parks, hotels, scenic outlooks, landmarks, and local dives in your surrounding area — and it even allows you to share or take suggestions from friends that you’ve added to your list through the app.
TomTom started out as one of the premier mapping and navigation companies of its era. Now, the once-bulky GPS and software have been minimalized into a smartphone-approved mobile app. If you’ve ever used the original, you’ll remember many of the app’s intuitive features — including waypoint marking, estimates on commute time, custom route mapping, and a bevy of other quality-of-life features that make your daily drive a little more forgiving.
Waze is the perfect app for those who are looking to be a part of a community of drivers who hold one another accountable — communicating up-to-the-second information on accidents, police traps, traffic jams, and other incidents that could greatly affect your daily commute. This peer-to-peer app relies on its community to foster its info base and has become so popular in recent years that it was even picked up by Google. If you’re looking for an intuitive alternative to many of the paid, modern-day Sat Nav apps out there, Waze might just be the all-in-one app that you’re looking for.
12 Best Driving Roads In The U.S.
Now that you’ve downloaded a few new road-going apps, head over to our guide on the best driving roads in the U.S. to put them to good use.