Traveling with a car has been quite a different experience compared to our previous trips. We quickly need to adapt to this new lifestyle and we noticed that a few apps made our life easier and cheaper. We decided to share with you what we think are the essential apps for a road trip in Europe.
How to find a place to sleep ?
Always our favorite option to find a place to stay. Having a car even opens up more possibilities as we could even stay with more remote hosts at times.
When we can’t find any host and we don’t feel like camping, we often use Booking.com. To me, that’s the most complete lodging app and usually cheaper than other apps. Since you are traveling with a car I’d suggest to widen the search to the whole state/province as you may find a nice accommodation at a discount price and off-the-grid (I like that).
How to navigate from one point to another ?
Waze has a lot of advantages in terms of navigation. First and foremost, it warns you before any speed camera. It also updates you live on potential delays on your planned route. There’s also an option to choose a toll-free road or to see how much the toll road would cost you.
How to find a free parking spot near your destination ?
Quite a lot of travelers are updating this app. It’s dedicated to camper vans, and the point is to share with others safe places to park your van and sleep overnight. We’ve been using it mostly to find free parking to visit cities and sometimes to find a quiet spot to sleep in our car.
How to find the cheapest gas around ?
Gas will be one of the major expenses of your trip, but if you do it smartly you could save a lot ! We recommend to download apps with frequently updated prices in order to plan your gas stop accordingly.
The price difference between gas stations makes it totally worth it. During our road trip in Spain we noticed a difference of more than 20 cents per liter. When filling the tank of an average car, it could represent a difference of more than 10 euros.
What to visit on the way to our next destination ?
The answer to this question could be very different depending on what your interests are and how you like to travel. We don’t like TripAdvisor much, but we still use the app because it’s a good way to find less known attractions in smaller places. When we drive from a point A to a point B we are generally not really aware of what we can visit in-between, and so we are using TripAdvisor to get an idea.
How to communicate with locals ?
Usually English should be fine in most locations in Europe, but if it’s not the case these apps could be quite useful !
Duolingo is a free language-learning app. Don’t expect to become fluent but it’s a great app to get some basics of the language you will travel in. There are about 50 languages available.
iTalki is a platform where I teach French, and it’s a great way to connect with a local teacher through Skype. It is definitely be a great place to learn a language before traveling.
Of course Google translate will work just fine, you can even download a few offline languages in order to be ready even when you can’t connect to the internet.
How to make a few bucks and meet interesting people ?
BlaBlaCar is a long distance ridesharing service, connecting drivers with empty seats to people travelling around. If you have an empty seat you can post your listing a few days in advance and specify how much you charge for the trip. It works relatively well in some countries such as France, and much less in others such as Italy.
And you ? Did it help you to plan your journey ? Are there other apps you use for your road trips? Feel free to share with us !