By Guest Blogger Abbie Polos & Katie Moosbrugger Updated by Sarah Marchwiany

My husband is from Knoxville, TN so at least five times a year we pack the kiddos into the car and head over the mountains to see Grammy. We have driven the route so many times we have it down to a science. We know the quick stops and the stops to blow off steam, and we know which route gets us there fast and which one is nice and leisurely. If you have never been to Knoxville, I would highly recommend checking it out! Here are Travel Planning Apps that will make your trip a little easier!

Since we do a lot of traveling we have also tried out our fair share of travel apps. Here are a few to help make your next trip run smoothly:

  1. Spotify (

I mean really. If you don’t have Spotify already what are you waiting on? My husband and I both have accounts because he doesn’t want my Disney tracks infiltrating his play lists. But honestly, Spotify allows us to play whatever we want, whenever we want, for as long as we want, while road tripping. There are two particular spots through the mountains where we can’t get a single radio station and 4G data service is spotty so having the option to pre-download playlists and songs makes it even easier to keep the music pumpin’ all the way to Grammy’s! As an added bonus HULU now comes with your subscription, so if you just can’t stand the endless chatter from the backseat you can sedate the kiddos with Curious George right there on your devices.

  1. Waze (

My husband is our driver and he is a strict Google Maps guy. He likes the maps, the routes, the interface and the pleasant voice directing you to merge left. But who came begging for directions the last time we were stuck in traffic? That’s right, Mr. P was saved by Waze. That’s because Waze uses real time data from drivers to anticipate traffic patterns, and it either reroutes you ahead of the mess, or gives you an alternate routes if you are already stuck. The map is full of cool features like displaying conveniences at the next exit and offering a ton of ways to customize your route.  If you create an account you can also help provide information on stopped cars, hazards and traffic times. I am also kinda into the part where it warns you of upcoming police cars, especially through VA!

  1. GasBuddy (

Gas is expensive and prices can change drastically between locations so if you are traveling between states, GasBuddy is the best app for finding the cheapest or closest gas. I usually check the route before we leave to scope out the cheapest spots and plan to make that our fill up spot. The thrill of a $0.04 discount on gas is what makes adulating worth it! This handy app has also gotten us out of a few tight spots when we needed gas fast but were in an unfamiliar city. This is another one that you can report your own price findings of you have an account.

  1. Field Trip ( and Roadtrippers (

Both of these apps are for the travel nerds out there. Field Trip is great because it has articles and links about those metal historical signs that dot the roadside that you can never read fast enough! It utilizes several national databases of historical figures, buildings and places, and includes museums, restaurants and attractions along your route. To be honest, I have only used this one locally but it is so full of great local facts I CAN NOT wait to nerd out on our next trip!

Roadtrippers is a mix between Field Trip and Waze. You set a specific destination or pick a pre-made route and the app shows areas of interest like shopping, food, historical or outdoor. You can see them all or narrow it down to specific items. One of our favorite parts is that it shows playgrounds near the route which is essential when the kiddos need to run it out during lunch.

  1. Libby: (

If you don’t already know, most public libraries will let you check out e-Books and audiobooks for FREE!  The app Libby allows you check out books with your card and listen or read directly on your devices. This is great for long car rides and for some grown up reading on the beach or by the pool, if that is your thing.

In addition to these, there are hundreds of travel apps out there and many locations and travel companies have their own specific apps. I usually do a quick search for apps that might apply to specific trips or family needs. If you have any other apps you use for travel on the regular, share them in the comments below!

Another really great function of every mobile device is the volume button. Once you get to where you are going, turn the volume down on your phone and tune into your family. There are no apps out there capable of making memories quite like the human mind can. Good luck and keep Momming!

Other Travel Planning Apps!

Note: Please click the name of the app to learn more about the app’s compatibility with your smartphone or tablet. If you have experience with any of the apps listed – good or bad – please share in the comments below, as well as other apps we need to know about!

Gives you the quickest routes with the least amount of traffic. Tips you off to real-time traffic jams and police cars on your route (to avoid speeding tickets!). Voice-commanded turn-by-turn directions, plus search for your favorite places – or cheapest gas – all on this app.

Find the closest Redbox on your trip, and get driving directions! I have been known to let my kids swap out their Redbox movies mid-trip, so this app is perfect for us. Plus the app lets you reserve movies for later pickup, watch trailers, search movies by name, release date and genre, and lets you sign up for email reminders to return your movie!

Sit or Squat
Helps you find public restrooms near you, lets you know if they are open or closed, and also lets you rate the bathroom (and view others’ ratings) before and after you go!

Sunday Drive
Helps you find points of interest (history, art, architecture, etc.) along your route. Offers mobile coupons for discounts at participating businesses. You can submit your own favorite trips, and if your trip is added to their network, they’ll pay you $10!

Something I desperately need! Helps you remember where you parked your car, including level, section and spot in parking garages. Just tap to save your parking spot, and iCarPark navigates you back to it.

Never settle for fast food again just because you can’t find a better alternative. And stop driving miles to what you thought was the closest gas station. TripStop helps you find places of interest within minutes along your route. You simply tell the app where you want to go and when you want to stop, and it gives you directions.

Find Baby Changing Facilities
No matter where you are, this app will show you all the closest facilities to change change your baby in safety and private.

iBreastfeed 2
Find friendly locations for breastfeeding and pumping, plus add your favorite spots. The app also lets you get information on breastfeeding, storage guidelines, access to online resources, tips, and ways to track your baby’s breastfeeding activities.

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
Just like the classic game we all remember, but only more fun. Your kids will search for a ton of things you would find on a road trip, including words on billboards and road signs. The game randomly selects items to search, and the first person to spot it earns a point.

Airline Travel

Flight Update
An award-winning app that brings you live flight status information. It’s easy to use and includes lots of fun features. Works on international flights, and even flights that are one year in advance.

Gate Guru
Similar to Flight Update, it provides real-time flight status, as well as push notifications, airport amenities, and other information customized to your itinerary. Also helpful with last minute rental cars with discounts exclusive to users of this app.

Helps you figure out – and remember – if an item is allowed in your carry-on or checked baggage. Gives requirements for IDs, liquids, and tips for getting through security quickly. Offers up-to-date and 24/7 access to any changes in details and procedures.


Before you throw away your old iOs device, turn it into a WiFi or cellular video surveillance system for your home! This app gives users a free Presence Video Alert movie to capture activity around your home, allowing you to detect motion within seconds. You can also monitor your lights and appliances remotely!

Mom Maps
Perfect for families looking for indoor fun on rainy days, or the closest playground to stretch antsy legs on long trips. This app shares lists of parks, playgrounds, plus restaurants, museums and indoor play areas nearest to where you are vacationing or driving. All listings come with reviews by other parents.

Doctor Finder
Identifies the nearest MD by specialty based on your location. Gives you the doctor’s exact address, distance from where you are, and the ability to call them directly via one tap. Also lets you quickly locate the nearest hospital, Urgent Care, and pharmacy.

Packing Pro
Never forget anything again! Perfect for busy moms – and parents who travel for business. Type in your location, and it shares the weather so you can plan ahead. Supports multiple trips and iCloud so you can synch your lists. Customizable with a huge catalogue of sample lists and expert assistance.

Find the safest routes to exercise and/or take the kids for a walk, jog or even bike ride. Includes more than 2 million routes and marks the distances for you (including how far you need to go to get to the start of the route). Great for walkers, runners, and bikers who want to get outside but are unfamiliar with the area.

TripAdvisor Offline City Guides
No matter where you go, you can access guides to any city – as well as its restaurants, attractions, hotels and reviews – all with no data roaming charges! This app does not require a live data connection (stores data on your phone) which means you can use it on the go and it’s super fast. Includes thousands of user reviews, options to create trip journals, and self-guided tours with city facts.

So moms, pull out your smartphones and tablets. I scoured the internet to find a list of apps (many are FREE) that will make your vacation travels much more enjoyable. I had no idea many of these apps existed! Whether you’re searching for suitable bathrooms on the road, stressing about airline connections, or seeking ideas to fill the days, you’re bound to find at least one solution in the list below. Happy travels!

What other Travel Planning Apps can you add to our list?

Check out the Day Trip Directory for some short road trip ideas from the Triad!

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