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10 Best Apps for Family Road Trips

Although we say that our road trips are "screen-free," the driver and adult passengers rely on several apps to make our trips better.  To make it even better, all of these apps are free for download!  Several of these apps, we use all year long to enhance our normal driving times and around the house.  Click the colored words to download them for your next trip.

Google Maps
The kids call her "Mrs. Google," and she tells us how to navigate in new places.  Whether we're trying to find a relative's house, our hotel, or a bathroom, we trust Mrs. Google to lead us there.  I'm sure your phone already has Google Maps installed, but if you don't for some reason, get it today (it's free).  (google)  (apple)

My kids love to listen to audiobooks all year long, especially the ones that go along with the Disney movies.  For a set price a month, you get one audiobook credit, which is yours to download and keep.  Even after you cancel your membership, you still own the books and can access them on your phone, tablet, or other device.  We like to play the books through the bluetooth radio transmitter furing out drive times.  If you sign up for an Audible membership through this link, you'll get two free audiobooks!  (google)  (apple)   
On multiple day road trips or destination vacations, there is usually a lot of lodging details to manage.  The hotels dot com app not only lets you book your rooms through their website, it also keeps track of all your reservations so you can relax.  I appreciate that it logs all your previous hotel stays too so you can returns to the ones you loved.  (google)  (apple)

This app tracks where you're driving and tells you what's coming up on the next several exits.  Larger highways are better for this app than smaller ones, but it's helpful for unfamiliar-to-you roads.  The app gives you food options, hotels, and gas stations.  The only thing it doesn't tell you is how long until the next exit with amenities- nothing can replace a physical map for that knowledge.  (google)   (apple)


I've been reading on a Kindle for ten years or so.  It's one of my favorite possessions and one that is rarely very far from me.  The Kindle app can be put on phones and non-Amazon devices to allow for Kindle book reading at any time.  It even keeps track of where you are in your book on different devices.  If you use this link to sign up for Kindle Unlimited, you will have instant access to millions of books and audiobooks for free!  (google)  (apple)

Color Note 
From packing lists to menu ideas to budgeting, Color Note is the place to collect all the lists.  As the name suggests, the app allows you to do different colors for each topic or event.  There might be better list apps on the market, but I love how simple this one is to use.  If I want to write a paragraph, I can.  If I want a list, I can have that as well.  It's a great app for being free, like a pile of sticky notes for anything you want to note.  (google)  (apple)

Amazon Music
We use Amazon Music Unlimited all the time!  You pay a monthly membership fee, and then you have access to thousands of songs and albums from the newest releases to the obscure and old.  As a homeschool mom, I love that I can pull up a CD about a certain subject (for example skip counting) and play it once or one hundred times.  Amazon allows you to download the albums too, so you can access them on the road or wherever you don't have access to internet or cell service.  I love loading up my phone with lots of new music to play through our bluetooth radio transmitter while we drive.  If you sign up through this link, you can try Amazon Music Unlimited for free!  (google)  (apple)

If your library uses Overdrive to provide you with free books and audiobooks, the Libby app allows you to check out content on your phone through your library card.  The entire family can enjoy reading and listening to free audiobooks with this app.  (google)  (apple)

I know I've been talking about a lot of listening options, but we also enjoy Pandora as well.  The app allows you to make up your own custom radio station by using a voting system to chose your favorites.  We have different stations for each time of the year or mood.  You could even make up a special station to go with a themed road trip.  I love that the songs are both in a random order, but also perfectly selected by me.  (google)  (apple)

Amazon Video
Although we don't actually play the videos for everyone to watch, we like to play one through our bluetooth radio transmitter while we're in the car.  It's a very different experience to listen to a movie without seeing it.  The music and sound effects really shine.  Plus, it's fun to listen to the movie and try to guess or describe what's happening.  Of course, in families that allow screen-time in the car, Amazon Video is a perfect forum for free movies and TV shows.  If you sign up for a Prime membership through this link, you can have one month free and thousands of free movies and TV shows.  (google)  (apple)

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My Favorite Apps for Road Trips // Party Through the USA // Even screen-free families can find lots of apps for their phones during the road trips and travel.  These of our 10 favorite apps for families and the ones we use most frequently all year long.


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