The Best Navigation Apps to Plan a Road Trip This Summer

Planning a road trip is no easy business 4 photos
Photo: Renault
ABRP on CarPlayMapQuest route planningGoogle Maps route planning
The holiday season is upon us, and as compared to 2020, which had completely different plans for the entire planet, there’s a chance we might get to experience a real vacation this year.
But as the world is slowly but surely returning to normal, many people are still looking for ways to spend their vacation in a way that would involve reduced interaction with others for obvious reasons. And this year, everybody expects the concepts of staycations and road trips to absolutely skyrocket all over the world.

Leaving on a road trip is no easy business, especially because you need to plan everything down to the smallest detail. That is because things are far more complicated these days than they were two years ago, but fortunately, technology once again comes to the rescue to help us with this mission.

First and foremost, we’re going to highlight today's navigation apps that are supposed to help you plan your road trip for different types of vehicles. Because we’re living in a changing world even in the automotive industry, and with EVs gaining more and more ground, it makes sense for new navigation solutions to be aimed at them too.

Universal navigation apps

Needless to say, if you’re searching for a navigation app to get you from point A to point B safely, faster, and on a more convenient route, the best choices are those coming from technology giants.

So you can choose between Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, Sygic, and TomTom, as these are right now the top solutions for anyone looking for an advanced and accurate navigation solution. The first three are completely free, and Waze also comes with a crowdsourcing engine that helps you beat heavy traffic in the regions you’re supposed to travel to.

Google Maps route planning
Photo: autoevolution

If you’re still burning gas

In theory, Google Maps is an app that comes in handy if you’re trying to set up a route with multiple stops as well, though I’m pretty sure it’d take a while to figure out how to do the whole thing.

The best way to use Google Maps for such a thing is to plan your route on a computer where you can easily add multiple stops and then send the directions to your mobile phone. There’s a feature specifically for this purpose in the web interface of Google Maps, and it supports both Android phones paired with a Google account or email addresses.

On the other hand, there’s one app that makes the whole route planning thing much more convenient. It’s MapQuest, an Android application that also offers navigation but comes with built-in multipoint support to help with road trip planning.

Using MapQuest is as simple as possible, as it only requires you to enter the destination and then see the fastest route and alternative routes, including some tailored for each driver to help save gas.

MapQuest also helps find hotels, restaurants, shops, coffee places, and gas stations.

MapQuest route planning
Photo: autoevolution

If you’re already using electric power

Planning a road trip is obviously a little bit more complicated if you’re using an EV, simply because you could need even more stops to recharge your car’s batteries.

Fortunately, several apps could help you with this, but one of the best is A Better Routeplanner, or ABRP. In just a few words, this application looks for routes to a specific destination based on your EV settings, so it tries to make sure that you can always reach the final point without worrying about the battery level.

ABRP looks for charging stations across your route and adds automatic stops to get some extra juice, therefore offering a safe way to arrive at the destination even if you’re driving an EV. So, in theory, ABRP helps deal with range anxiety in a modern way, all by just determining the easiest way to travel to a destination using a route optimized for your car and autonomy.

ABRP on CarPlay
Photo: ABRP on Twitter

If you’re driving a camper van

This time, I won’t suggest a navigation app but a navigation device as a whole. It’s Garmin’s CamperVan, a GPS sat-nav unit whose purpose is to look for routes specifically optimized for van campers and also find nearby points with facilities like internet access, showers, and places to eat.

Therefore, CamperVan is more than just a simple navigation device, as it’s more of a central hub of resources for the camper van driver. It also helps plan a route in advance and even find places to visit around a specific point, with TripAdvisor integration making sure you always go to top-rated points of interest.

Of course, Garmin’s device isn’t available free of charge and is only available in Europe.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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