Summer means road trips. Bust out your best mix tapes, because we're looking at endless fast food, sing-alongs, and the wide open road.
Welcome to the ultimate list of iPhone apps for taking with you on your next road trip, all guaranteed to ratchet up your level of fun. Prep your mobile to hit the road in advance, from pit stops to avoiding speed traps, from finding a roof for the night to not missing one single giant ball of twine.
Some of these apps have more information about resources in the US (like Roadtrippers), but plenty of them are great for hitting the open road no matter where you're headed.
Before you head out the door:
Choose your exit wisely: iExit
iExit is your number one friend for finding anything on the road. Search for the nearest food, hotels, toilets, gas, camping, rest areas, pharmacies, and way more. Browse what's nearby or plan ahead based on your upcoming route. Fast, accurate, simple, and totally free.
More crowdsourced brilliance: SitOrSquat ranks nearby restrooms in terms of cleanliness. Sometimes kind (and sneaky) folks even upload photos of free toilets so that you can judge for yourself before you make an unnecessarily grody pit stop.
It's been tested extensively against the competition, and Google Maps always comes out on top in terms of accuracy and speed. It's the very best for finding your way from A to B (then to C, and to D, and to E, and...), and it just gets better the more the Google Car makes its way around the world.
Crowdsourcing reigns again with Waze, alerting you in advance to traffic snarls and spotted speed traps. It's a known battery drain, but if you've got your device plugged in, it's an amazing tool for knowing what's coming up next in real time.
Not that we'd ever advocate speeding, but just in case, you should definitely have Trapster tell you when to step off the gas to avoid a fine. The info is crowdsourced from the active community of the app, which also automatically gathers data regarding speed and traffic flow from your GPS location.
You'll never know what's just off the highway - unless you install Roadtrippers, alerting you to all the attractions along the way of your planned route. Filter by Food & Drink/History/Nature/etc. to receive recommendations of great sights that match your taste.
If you're willing to plop down a couple bucks, Roadside America is the most extensively detailed attraction guide we've ever seen. Get in-depth recommendations for all kinds of unusual attractions near you. Filter by crazy categories (like Zombie Army), or just look for the nearest natural wonders.
It's the most well-known for a reason. TripAdvisor uses crowdsourced reviews to rank nearby accommodation (and restaurants, and attractions) from best to worst. Order by price, quality, and distance. Detailed reviews make it so you never accidentally stay in a roach motel ever again.
Never settle for Mickey D's ever again: Food Tripping
Food Tripping's the perfect choice for the locavore foodie on the go. Search for unique nearby eateries, including farmers' markets and local haunts that might not make a blip on bigger, more mainstream restaurant apps.
Need more diners, drive-ins, and dives in your road trip? TVFoodMaps has your back, letting you know which great restaurants around you have been featured in Food Network and Travel Channel shows. Filter by your favorite stars, or just search for the best eats nearby.
The worst part about driving is parking in a big city, especially one you're unfamiliar with. ParkMe covers many urban areas in the US, filtering through all the available parking spots in its database to offer you the cheapest for reservation directly through the app. More than 2,000,000 locations and growing.
Fingers crossed it doesn't happen to you, but just in case your trusty engine goes tits-up, keep RepairPal at the ready. Enter in your make and model of car, and the app will search for the best rated, least expensive garage nearby.