The summer road trip season is upon us. When you’re checking off your lists (swimsuits? sunscreen? gas tank filled?), don’t forget to download some apps to make your journey easier, efficient and enjoyable.

Whether you’re venturing to the next city or across state lines, here are some must-have apps for your adventures.

Plan Your Route

Waze (free, iOS, Android, Windows Phone)

This navigation app combines GPS with real-time traffic updates, gas prices, alerts about speed traps and route information. Waze gets its real-time updates from other users on the road and is consistently voted one of the best navigation apps out there.

Gas Buddy (free, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry)

Gas Buddy uses crowd-sourced data to find the cheapest gas prices near you.

Greatest Drive (free, iOS, Android)

Want to take the scenic route? This app avoids the interstate, focusing instead on the most beautiful, winding and perhaps less traveled routes. Users rate routes by how fun, scenic and twisty they are. The app is also integrated with Yelp so you can find restaurants and shopping along your route.

Cenex Locator (free, web-based)

Hosted on, this tool uses Google Maps to plan your route and show you Cenex locations along the way.

Plan Your Stops

Roadside America ($2.99, iOS)

If you’re looking for America’s quirkiest attractions on the road, download Roadside America. From giant balls of twine to strange statues, this app documents 10,000+ offbeat attractions across America.

TVFoodMaps (free, iOS, Android)

If you’re a Food Network fan, you need to download this app. TVFoodMaps finds places that have appeared on foodie TV shows such as Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives; Man vs. Food; Chopped; and more. Type in your start and end points, and the app will give you a list of restaurants along your route.

SitOrSquat (free, iOS, Android)

Yes, there’s an app for that, too. SitOrSquat helps you find public restrooms near you and along your route. Restroom locations are crowdsourced and rated as “Sit” (you enjoyed the bathroom) or “Squat” (it could be better).

Pass the Time

Spotify (free, iOS, Android)

Tired of searching the airwaves for new stations? Download this music streaming service. Listen to existing playlists, make your own or find something new with the radio feature.

Audible (free, iOS, Android)

If you’re tired of music, try Audible, which allows you to listen to more than 180,000 books on your device.

Family Car Games ($2, iOS)

Going on a long car ride? Family Car Games features 100 activities appropriate for the entire family – no equipment required. Choose the game, read the rules and put the iPhone away for some unplugged family time.

Stay the Night

Hotel Tonight (free, iOS, Android, Windows Phone)

Need a place to stay? This app can help road trippers quickly find a hotel for the night at a reasonable price.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user wwarby.

Spread The Word