5 Must-Have Apps for Summer Travel With the Family (PHOTOS)

Adriana Velez | Jun 21, 2013 Home & Garden

"Family road trip." Those words can strike fear into the hearts of almost any parent...the endless rounds of "are we THERE YET??", the sudden demand to pee 5 miles after the last rest stop and 50 miles until the next one, and the constant sibling fight refereeing will test the most saintly parent's patience.

Of course, it is also a ton of fun discovering new places or visiting old favorite haunts with your family. To make your road trip less stressful and more fun, here are five apps that will help you find gas at a decent price, fuel up your kids for free, find kid-friendly parks anywhere you go, navigate our national parks (or just dream of doing so) and find out how far away the nearest rest stop is.

Image via Steve Wilson/Flickr

  • Gas Buddy/Fuel Finder


    Filling the tank (and then finding gas 10 cents cheaper a block away) is a total travel bummer. Avoid it with GasBuddy.com's fuel finder app. It's constantly updated with gas prices near you, contributed by other users. The app will tell you what's near you and sort by price. For iOS, Windows Phone, Android and Blackberry. Free.

  • Kids Meal Deals


    Image via ITunes

    This app has the best rating of the various kids meal finders out there. It's not perfect...it's chain-heavy, and you should absolutely call first to make sure the advertised deal is in effect. But it's a good bet any place that has a "kids eat free" deal on any night of the week is pretty kid-friendly the other six. Free for Android and iOS.

  • Mom Maps


    Image via MomMaps.com

    Sometimes the best thing you can do on the road is take a break and let everyone run off some energy. But where to find a park or other attraction in an unfamiliar place? MomMaps will tell you...it has maps and descriptions of local parks an family fun places, as well as parent-submitted reviews, which are golden. A guidebook can guide you to a park but it won't tell you the swings are rusted and the other kids are biters...your fellow moms will.

  • Chimani National Parks Guide


    Image via Chimani.com

    If your trip includes a national park (which are really must-see at least once in your life), these Chimani guides are awesome. You can download an overview or one for just your destination. It has audio tours, a calendar of ranger-led events, and even sunrise/sunset data for a year so you can make the most of your trip. Free, Android, Amazon App Store, and iOS.

  • Rest Stop Apps


    Every parent has experienced this...you monitor your kids' fluid intake, you insist they at least try peeing every time you stop, and then invariably it happens: "Mooommmm, I have to gooooo!!!" Stop the panic with a rest stop finder app that can tell you in real time via GPS how close you are to the nearest one. There are several online; these two have the highest ratings.  Galatic Guidebook, Free on iOS. App Avenger Rest Areas, $2.49 on Android.

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