Whether you’re planning a cross-country tour with your band or an old-school interstate road trip in a retro van, these eight apps will enhance (and ease) your experience of life on the road.
1. TuneIn Radio
100,000 stations of sports, music, news, and talk radio
Maybe you’ve had this frustration too: rolling through the middle of nowhere and endlessly scanning for a reliable radio station. Sure, it seems that just about everyone is using Spotify these days, but where an app with millions of songs at your fingertips falls short, TuneIn radio prevails.
Offering over 100,000 stations, TuneIn Radio is an all-in-one solution with the world’s largest selection of sports, news, music, and talk radio.
Real-time pricing to help you find the cheapest fuel
Your empty light kicked on for your gas tank about 20 miles back and you need to fill up before long … But getting off the interstate only to find yourself circling around houses in the middle-of-nowhere sounds like a miserable and risky endeavor.
Take some of the mystery (and potential danger) of getting off into a gas desert by checking with your GasBuddy app first. The app will tell you where you can find gas closest to where you are now, how to get there by syncing with your maps program of choice, as well as offering more details about the store.
Most importantly, it gives you real-time pricing, so you can score gas at the cheapest rate around.
3. Sygic GPS Navigation and Maps
A maps app specifically designed for offline use
With 500 million users worldwide, Sygic claims to be “the most installed offline GPS navigation app.” Powered by an extensive network of TomTom maps, this app is well-suited for when you’re off the grid and without internet. Additional features include real-time traffic feeds and the ability to locate gas stations.
On the topic of GPS apps, it’s worth mentioning a couple other great options: don’t miss trying Waze (iOS and Android) and a new, offline-focused GPS app, Karta (iOS).
Learn the stars, constellations, and planets
If you’re living or traveling in a van, chances are you appreciate a night under the stars. And if you’re out there anyway, you might as well take a moment to see what’s above you.
Point your device at the sky and the SkyView app will bring up information about the planets, stars, and constellations. It’s a lot more compact than carrying around a star map of the hemispheres and will make you appreciate your ability to access clear, untarnished skies that much more.
5. Weather Underground
200,000 personal weather stations for hyper-focused accuracy
Founded in 1995 as the first online weather service, Weather Underground has been building their forecasting technologies for over two decades. And with over 200,000 personal weather stations contributing to the app’s data, they stake a claim to “the world’s most accurate hyper-focused forecasting.”
Along with the standard hourly, daily, and 10-day forecasts, you’ll also find detailed radar maps and “feels like” temperature readings.
Professional photo editing tools for in the palm of your hand
VSCO will help you capture professional quality shots of your travels … even if you’re a novice.
Packed with a robust set of editing features, many users find VSCO to be the best photo app on the market. Buried within the presets you’ll find an array of filters along with precise control over sharpness, contrast, highlights/shadows, grain, vignette, and more.
While the learning curve to VSCO can be steep, once you have a rhythm down you might not edit photos any other way.
7. AUTOsist: Car Maintenance and Gas Log
Stay organized and manage your vehicle records
Have you ever found your glove box slowly begin to drown in paper vehicle records, service logs, and receipts? While it’s important to keep a log of this information, the clutter can become overwhelming.
With AUTOsist, simply photograph important records and the app will store them in the cloud, providing access from any device at any time. You can then set reminders in the app for future service needs and even log your gas usage to make sure you’re staying within budget.
Dash cam and augmented reality GPS navigation
CamOnRoad is a free all-in-one dash cam and GPS navigator. While it has seen remarkable success on the Android platform, the iOS version doesn’t come without a few quirks (instructions are only in Russian, for example).
You might wonder, “Why would I care for a dash cam, anyways?”
Good question. There are couple reasons: in the case of an accident or an unjust ticket, having a video recording of your perspective would be immensely valuable. Or, when you’re road tripping and find yourself cruising a spectacular landscape, perhaps you’ll want to record the drive.
Whatever the case, CamOnRoad provides you with 2GB of free cloud video storage and the GPS functionality—built on augmented reality—is in a league of its own.
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