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Apps to Help you Save on the Road


Though vanning is one of the most affordable ways to travel, it makes sense to enact some strategies to save money on your next adventure – because 1. it will allow you to spend less on your route and more on your adventures when you get to your destinations and 2. who doesn’t love to save when they can?

Great news for all vanlifers, there are plenty of mobile apps available to help you save or earn points toward savings on the likes of fuel, lodging, food, campgrounds and so much more. Here’s a look at some of the best apps to help you save money and stay under budget on the road!

10 Travel Apps to Help You Save on the Road

1. GasBuddy

GasBuddy can help you save money on the road in multiple ways. One, you can browse nearby gas stations or service stations along your route and search for the best price quickly and conveniently. And two, the GasBuddy app now allows you to pay for your fill ups at stations throughout the country – and you’ll get a discount for doing so. You can earn up to 10 cents per gallon for your first fill up purchased through the app and 5 cents for every subsequent gallon pumped. It’s a savings that can certainly add up over time.

2. HotelTonight

Sure, your rec van is great, but it can also be fun to splurge on a nice hotel near your destination for a night or two to enjoy some creature comforts, plan a romantic date night or just enjoy a little more space for you and any other travelers. The HotelTonight app can help. All you need to do is open the app and you’ll see any last-minute deals on hotel rooms that are still available. Obviously, hotel managers want to fill these rooms rather than lose money on them remaining vacant, so you’re likely to score some great prices. What’s more is some hotels come with even better extra discounts to put towards the booking and you can earn and save credits to put towards future bookings.

3. Rome2rio

Want to get from your origin to your destination quickly, conveniently and efficiently? Rome2rio can help. Simply put in your origin and your destination and the app will work to find the most efficient route to get you there the fastest. You can chart your course from anywhere in the world and you can even purchase travel options, get recommendations on attractions and landmarks, and track price estimates along the way.

4. Trail Wallet

Are you worried about blowing your budget on your next road trip? If so, an app like Trail Wallet can help keep you more accountable. With Trail Wallet, users can set a daily budget and then input every purchase they make throughout the day to track their spending. The app will notify you how much remaining daily budget you have left for the day and it also offers an adjusted budget feature to help keep you on track with your spending for the entirety of the trip.

5. Groupon

It’s always nice to step out for a nice meal or two, whether it’s once you’ve arrived at your destination or along the way. Groupon is an app that can help you find deals on dining and earn rewards points on purchases that can be used for any purchases in the future. While you’ll have to purchase a Groupon to a local eatery, you can save money by paying less than what’s often the actual retail price. Plus, if you’re vanning with any students or are one yourself, you may be able to earn extra student discounts on certain purchases.

6. The Dyrt

Though the Dyrt’s Pro edition gives you a ton of benefits, such as trip planning, offline search and map layers, even its free version gives you fast and easy access to hundreds if not thousands of campsites, in a combination of free, public and private. This makes it really easy to find a campground, whether you’re searching for a specific one or just want to see what’s available where you’re headed next.

7. Roadside America

Any road trip has a final destination, but that’s not to say that you can’t have some fun along the way. Roadside America can help break up your drive by empowering you to take in some of the unique, quirky and interesting attractions on your route. While the app does come with a minimal download cost, by opening it, you’ll be privy to all of the unique points of interest that this country has to offer. While it may not be able to save you money, it can help save you time by allowing you to plan your route smarter and more efficiently if there are any can’t-miss attractions along the way.

8. Waze

Money isn’t the only thing that you can save when you’re out on the open road. It’s also important to try to save time as well. However comfortable your rec van may be, you want to maximize your time spent at your destinations and minimize the time spent in the vehicle getting there. And taking the fastest routes by navigating around traffic jams, construction and other obstacles is one way to ensure you reach your destination as quickly as possible. Waze can help. A crowdsourcing app that provides live, real-time navigation alerts, you’ll always know what’s happening on your route and can quickly locate alternative routes you can take to save time when problems arise.

9. Roadtrippers

Dubbed “the essential app for any road trip,” Roadtrippers allows you to punch in your origin and final destination, and learn the best routes to take, attractions along the way, hotels and restaurants, and more. When used correctly, it can help save users time and money with smarter, easier planning. It’s completely free to download and there’s a paid version that has even more money-saving features.

10. Openbay

While preventative maintenance is key to ensuring your rec van runs well, issues may arise from time to time on your road trips. That’s where an app like Openbay comes in handy. Open the app and you can see price estimates at the various auto mechanics in your area based on whatever service it is that you need. You can even schedule an appointment right in the app. As an added bonus, the app will record any maintenance and send you alerts when it’s time to schedule suggested preventative or routine maintenance on your vehicle.

With money and time saving features literally at your fingertips, it’s easier than ever to plan your next road trip more smartly. Download these travel apps and start saving today.