Before you set out on the open road, make sure you're ready to utilize your smartphone. These road trip-related apps will not only drive you to discover new places and foods, but will also help you save time and money.
Food Tripping Free. Available on iPhone and Android. Don't succumb to the constant barrage of billboards promising cheap McWhoseits and McWhatsits at the next highway exit. This GPS-based app shows you nearby alternatives to fast foods, including farmer's markets, microbreweries, and healthy eateries. It's perfect for those looking to eat local, as well as for those looking for meat-free options beyond salads and French fries.
Field Trip Free. Available on iPhone and Android. If you're a history know-it-all or encyclopedia of fun facts, this app is for you. The app runs in the background of your phone and pops up facts as you get close to locations. It can even read the info out loud for you, providing great narration as you travel — plus, it can connect you with local music, making your road trip soundtrack more diverse.
Beatthetraffic Free. Available on iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry. Road trips are best taken in slowly — except when it comes to being stuck in traffic. Get reliable, real-time traffic conditions on roads in the U.S. and Canada with this crowd-sourced app. Then you can spend time doing the things that really matter.
Gas Buddy Free. Available on iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry. On a long road trip, saving just a few pennies per gallon can really add up. Finding deals on gasoline is a no-brainer with this app, which takes user-submitted data to find the cheapest nearby prices. Unlike highway exit signs, it'll also let you know just how far away gas stations are, keeping you from a lengthy detour off your route.
Hotel Tonight Free. Available on iPhone and Android. For road trippers traveling by the seats of their pants, Hotel Tonight is a great tool. Drive to your heart's content, and when you need a rest, this app uses GPS location services to find you a last-minute lodging deal nearby. Book the hotel on your smartphone and then rest up — tomorrow's a whole new day on the open road.
Photo of a road in the United Arab Emirates by Nepenthes/Wikimedia Commons.