10 Free Apps For Your Holiday Travel

Travel Apps
Apps for Travel Photo: CreativeCommons

The holidays are almost here which means you’re probably traveling soon. Your smartphone can be your best travel partner with the right apps installed. Our top 10 travel apps will save you time and money. Just install them before you leave, try them out and get familiar with how they work so you’ll be ready to hit the road.


Waze has seriously saved me hours of sitting in traffic. I use Waze almost daily to get out of a traffic jam, find step by step, turn by turn navigation and more. Waze also shows where to find the cheapest gas, helps find a place to get some food along the way, and even warns of speed traps and red light cameras on your route.

Waze also has a feature that will alert a loved one to what time you will be arriving at your destination. I know exactly when my husband leaves work and is headed home because Waze keeps me updated.

Holiday Traffic

Tis the season for traffic. Photo: Chicago Tribune

2. Urgent.ly

This app is like a pay-as-you-go AAA, but without membership fees. It is a nationwide, 24/7 on call, on demand service. If you have a problem on your trip, open the app and find out exactly what the service call will cost and then follow along to know when help will arrive.

While AAA’s membership fees include some free services such as a set number of free tows, tire changes and fuel services, Urgent.ly can often be faster and more convenient than AAA. Tow trucks can be summoned in minutes and will be able to help with jump starts, tire changes, lock outs from your car, running out of gas, or can even pull you out of a ditch, all at Urgent.ly’s reasonable price.

3. Roadtrippers

Roadtrippers is an essential planning tool for before and during a trip. This app allows you to set up your route, then helps you find great things to do along that route.

Looking for an attraction to break up the trip? Are there any diners off the highway that you should consider? Need a place to stay that’s right off your route or maybe cool B&B that’s a little further off the beaten path? How about just knowing all of the weird things that you’d never even thought of while you’re driving to your in-laws for the holidays? Roadtrippers website and app helps you make more of your holiday trip.

V8 Hotel

V8 Hotel in Stuttgart, Germany where it’s all about the cars. Photo: Terri Marshall

4. Hotel Tonight

Even on short road trips you can find yourself suddenly too tired to go on. But where do you stop for the night? The Hotel Tonight app will find unsold rooms at major hotel chains that are clean and comfy at a great price. See photos of the rooms, make a reservation and be in your bed in minutes.

There are over 15,000 hotels in the database in 35 countries and the app lets search by your current location or on a map, so you can search for hotels 20 miles up the road or, if you like to play hotel roulette, by your destination city.

Road Trip Apps

Packed and ready to road trip. Photo by Karen Heffren

5. PackPoint

Do you always forget something important when you are traveling? Packpoint will keep you from forgetting your underwear ever again. This intelligent packing app creates a packing list; just tell the enter how long you will be away, what the weather is like at your destinations, and any activities you have planned while you are away.

Having this list has kept me from forgetting things at home! You can also create a personalized packing list once and refer to it before your next trip.

6. TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor app is just like the website: Hotel and restaurant reviews all in one place. There are more than 350 million reviews to help you decide if you should stay at that hotel or eat in that restaurant based on what other visitors have experienced. You can even book hotels, flights, restaurants and attractions right on the app.

The Near Me Now part of the app can quickly show you new places to discover near your current location.  This app is great for visiting places you’ve never been before.

7. BringFido

Our dog loves to travel with us but finding pet-friendly lodging is not that easy. BringFido is the app all dog parents need. Not only can you find pet-friendly hotels, you can also find restaurants that allow pets, dog parks and beaches, and even dog events happening nearby.

You can narrow down a pet-friendly hotel that won’t charge a pet fee and book a room right on the app. This app is approved and recommended by our dog Molly.

Pet Travels

Izzy is ready to hit the road. Photo by Vanessa Orr

8. CityMapper

CityMapper makes city travel stress free (though it’s not available for all cities). Put in your destination and you’ll see every possible way to get there including costs, time, suggested departure times, and trip duration. This app even shows you which buses you can take, how long it will take to walk or bike, and also how many calories you’ll use!

Simple step-by-step routes are available and it determines which is more convenient: the bus. the subway or bike share. In big cities, there are so many options but CityMapper will find the right option for you.

9. GoogleTrips

I love everything Google, so maybe I’m biased, but this app makes it super easy to plan and organize all your travel. Depending on where you want to go, this app will look at the date, time, and weather and then suggest some activities you might enjoy.
You can also keep all your travel reservations for your upcoming trip on this app as well as recommended activities that you might want to add nearby. You can also get restaurant recommendations within walking distance of your location, along with their ratings and reviews. This app organizes all your travel in one easy-to use-place.

10. Redbox

Make time on the road (or at Grandma’s house) fly by: Kids or passengers can catch up on the latest movies or games, and since you can rent and return discs anywhere, you don’t have to commit to long term loans, risk lost discs or shoulder the cost of buying or streaming media. The app lets you find the nearest Redbox as well as what the box has in stock. Bad Moms not available in Altoona? Find it just a short hop down the road in Hollidaysburg. Leave home with a couple of DVDs, then stop along the route to return them and rent new ones.
Hitting the road this holiday season with these apps will make your travel so much easier. Let us know which ones are your favorites!

Sara LaFountain is a former teacher and current Blogger and Caterer. Five years ago Sara founded her blog, Cook... More about Sara LaFountain