There are plenty of reasons for college students to hop behind the wheel and hit the open road in the summer, from visiting a new campus, to checking out awesome beaches and landmarks. But with gas prices constantly fluctuating and the ever-present possibility of that flat tire or sudden traffic jam, road trips definitely have their disadvantages. Thankfully, our trusty smartphones are the best tools for beating the roadtrip blues. With the help of a few apps, you can plan and take the best summer road trip possible, and still make it back for class in August.

Sometimes, the most fun you can have on a road trip comes from those unexpected stops at fun, off-the-beaten-path places. This app helps you map out your trip, while offering you points of interest and pit stops along the way. You simply tell the app the kind of sights you’re interested in seeing, and how far off your route you’re willing to go, and it gives you a list of things to check out along the way.

This is one of my favorite travel apps, even just on my daily commute. This is a crowd-sourced traffic app, where other users will notify you of speed traps, traffic jams, accidents, and detours. Google Maps often sources its traffic info from this app; you might notice “Reported on the Waze App,” tacked onto traffic updates on Google Maps. But, not only is this app super functional, it’s also pretty fun. The more you report, the more “levels” you advance and points you earn. It can be a little bit battery-hungry, though, since it runs constantly, even in the background. So, if you’re using Waze on your summer road trip, make sure to keep your phone plugged in.

open road

Hotel Tonight
When road tripping, the decision to grab a hotel can often come last minute, when eyes are growing weary and the miles are feeling longer. This app can score you a deal on a hotel near you, right away. One disadvantage is that it isn’t available in every city, despite being available in a good amount of spots. If you’re going somewhere especially remote (with just one Bates-like roadside motel blinking “vacancy” just off the highway) you might not have much luck on this app. But, if you’ll be near larger cities, it can work wonders.
With road tripping often comes things like flat tires, breaking down, and running out of gas. This app connects you to nearby help and gives you a fee estimate for whatever service you need, from towing to a lockout. Then, you can request the help to come to you, and pay them securely right through the app with your credit card.

When I was driving 800 miles to move out of state, one of the things I seemed to run into the most was taking an exit that didn’t have the thing I needed, and then having to get right back on the highway—only to end up driving 20 more miles through nowhere-land with my gas light on. This app lets you know what amenities and necessities are available at upcoming exits, so you can plan ahead as you drive and not miss the stop you need to make.