The Most Useful Apps

That Will Keep You Happy On

Any Road Trip

by Bill Flitter

There are specific apps that exist to focus on each commuting topic—maps, weather, news, and entertainment. All these different topics have some of the most useful apps available.

Nowadays, though, Apple and Google have all of these features baked into their devices. In addition, Android Auto and Apple Carplay are now integrated into many different cars. Cars such as Acura, Chevy, Dodge, Ford, and even Lamborghini and Ferrari (and many others).

The only major car manufacturer not on either Google’s or Apple’s list is Toyota (can you say, downfall?). Toyota isn’t on that list because they are developing their own in-car app ecosystem. When you have a car that is Android Auto compatible (most major car brands built since 2015) or Apple Carplay compatible (most major car brands built since 2016), you simply plug your phone into the car’s USB port.

Suddenly your phone’s screen appears on the dashboard screen. You get your maps, music, audible news (try saying, “OK Google, play the news”), podcasts, texts, and phone calls all through the car.

But what if you don’t like what Apple and Google have to offer? Well, here are the most useful apps for those long family road trips or even for your daily commute.

most useful apps

These Most Useful Apps Will Make Your Drive Easier


What slows down a commute more than anything else? It has to be an accident that creates congestion. For real time accidents and more, commuters rely on Waze for up to the moment traffic information, accidents, and so much more. I even heard you can learn where the speed traps are (if you’re lucky enough to get over 30 mph during a traffic jam).

most useful apps

Did you know...

One of the most popular songs for long road trips is Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again”.


Triplog is for those who drive long distances every day and need to record their mileage. It’s great if your company reimburses you for wear and tear or gasoline. Or you need your miles for tax purposes.

Triplog automatically starts logging miles when it detects you’re moving faster than 5 mph. It can also help you keep track of how far you’ve gone on a road trip. Either way, it will help answer the age-old question, “Are we there yet?”

most useful apps


You can use the ETA app to quickly calculate the length of time it takes to get somewhere. Yes, Google Maps does the same thing, but with ETA, you can get a dashboard glimpse of all your favorite places just by opening the app. You don’t have to search or open a Recent list.

It also supports public transportation for those times you need to drive to BART (public train) and then to the airport. ETA will figure how long each leg of the trip will take.

most useful apps


The Watchup app is another one of our favorite most useful apps. It is the one-stop show for video news. The app allows you to, “Choose from over 200 local, national and international channels and a variety of news categories” that you can watch and listen to on your phone. While the video portion might be distracting while driving, you can simply listen.

For your passengers, it will help alleviate the boredom of traffic or long drives. Watchup is a great way to get caught up on the news while stuck in traffic.

most useful apps

Podcasts And Audiobooks

Podcasts and audiobooks are more popular now than ever. While Google and Apple have their own podcast services, there’s also Overcast.

Then there’s an app called, Audiobook, which boasts the following quote.

Thousands of FREE audiobooks await. If you’re stuck in traffic or powering through your workout they are great. Audiobooks puts the most beloved audiobooks at your fingertips.
most useful apps


If I started a poll on the most common source of entertainment while in a car, I would put my money on music. There are a million music apps and services available these days, including the most popular, Spotify. Of course, Google, Apple, Amazon, Pandora, and a multitude of others also offer streaming music. And SiriusXM satellite radio is still a thing.

most useful apps


Most people don’t like getting caught in inclement weather, and sometimes simply looking out the window just doesn’t cut it. Especially if you live in a microclimate area such as the Northern California Bay Area.

It might be 100 degrees and sunny in the East Bay but 50 degrees. Or foggy 30 miles away in San Francisco. There are probably 10 billion weather apps available, but the two apps that seem to get a lot of attention are Poncho and Dark Sky.

Poncho is for you if you want to wake up listening to a humorous weather forecast. Dark Sky on the other hand takes itself a bit more seriously by boasting the following.

Dark Sky is the most accurate source of hyperlocal weather information. With down-to-the-minute forecasts, you’ll know exactly when the rain will start or stop, right where you’re standing.
most useful app

Over To You

These are just a few of our favorite most useful apps for your next long drive.  Do you have another apps that you cannot live without? Which one of these apps is your favorite?

Read our best picks on the best phone apps that will make parents more efficient in the car. 


Choose from any new car at your local dealer.
We’ll negotiate the Guaranteed Best Price for you.