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Happy trails: Best travel apps and gadgets to elevate your classic road trip


Editor’s note: This is the third in a four-part series we’re publishing this month to help you get you ready to take a road trip in your collector vehicle. The series began with Bob Golfen reviewing tools and other items to pack along on such a trip. Then, Andy Reid listed things to do to prepare your collector car for a road trip.

Ever feel overwhelmed after a trip when you try to remember all the details to share with friends and family?  Get questions like: if I were to take that trip, how much would I have to budget? Or I want to go to that spot you took that photo at, where was it?  Or maybe this is your first trip in the electric car you just bought, and you are eager to see the savings on fuel.

These days, there are many more variables to take into account, and new tools that can make touring more effective and enjoyable.  Below, we have put together some of our favorite travel apps and gadgets that will elevate your next road trip.   

Travel apps (you can find most of these apps in your Google Play Store or Apple Store)

  1. Polarsteps – Travel Tracker
    • We travel for the story and sometimes it’s hard to keep track of where a photo was taken or memory was made.  Travel apps that documents your adventure is a must have. Polarsteps documents with geotagging on a map with photos you take that can be shared through your social media or a private link to friends, family and anyone else you want to make jealous that they aren’t on this trip with you.  No data where you’re going?  No problem, the app works offline, too! After your trip is over, you can easily turn your journey into a printed photo album through the app as well!
  2. Travel Budget
    • Keep track of your travel budget, no internet connection required!  You can add expenses in any currency and will automatically convert to your home currency.  Your spending data is also visualized so that you can analyze where you’re spending.  Last but not least, you can export your spending data!
  3. PlugShare
    • Locate 150,000+ electric-vehicle chargers, see station ratings, real-time availability, photos, descriptions, reviews and tips from other drivers, plus connect with 200,000+ EV drivers.  You can even plan your EV road-trip route and see all the charging stations along the way.

  4. GasBuddy
    • Find the cheapest gas at the best stations through crowd-sourced data.  You can filter the results by price, location, brand, and amenities like car washes, restaurants and restrooms.
  5. HotelTonight
    • Last-minute discounts on empty hotel rooms.  Reserve rooms in-app and search by city, attraction or on the map, then check reviews and photos from other travelers.  It also has 24/7 customer support.
  6. Detour
    • GPS-guided talking tours for 17 cities around the world narrated by a local who knows the city inside out. Currently, the app has tours for San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Austin, Washington DC, Boston, Portland, Savannah, Charleston, Chicago, Rome, Berlin, Marrakech, London, Paris and Barcelona.


  1. goTenna Mesh
    • The modern-day walkie-talkie that utilizes your mobile device in areas of no cellular service.  Stay connected with your group and share messages and location info instantly with a range of up to 4 miles.

  2. Anti-theft backpack, purse and or some sort of carrying case
    • Don’t let your road trip go to ruin thanks to encountering a not-so-great character.  There are plenty of anti-theft bags, backpacks and purses available, and it doesn’t hurt to be a little cautious when traveling.  It’s okay to get caught up in admiring the scenery, but do it without having to worry about being pick-pocketed.
  3. Wacaco Hand Powered Portable Espresso maker
    • For coffee fiends like me, fresh espresso is a must.  Travel and have the convenience of fresh espresso with one of Wacaco mobile espresso machine that is about the size of a regular thermos.

  4. Waterproof travel bags
    • Water destroys everything and can really come from anywhere.  Keep your valuables and electronics safe in a cost-efficient way.  By getting waterproof bags instead of waterproof cases for each and every item, you can safely secure multiple items without breaking the bank.
  5. Portable Solar Charger
    • Car died?  Nothing in sight?  Well the sun is almost always available, even if you have to wait a few hours for it.  Have peace of mind always knowing that you have a rechargeable battery no matter where you go.

  6. Jump-start battery pack
    • One of my favorite items to keep with me while I travel.  These jump-start battery packs can usually jump start a car 3-4 times while also having the ability to charge mobile devices at a fairly quick and steady rate.  Most packs also have an integrated flash light with various “SOS” blink modes.  Some of the more expensive and larger packs can even jump a diesel, while the smaller packs might  not.

Before you head out, make sure to prep your classic car right by using this checklist for preparing your collector car for a road trip. While on that road trip make sure to have the right tools with you and check this checklist on tools, parts and planning tips.

Didn’t see your go to item for road trips? Comment and let us know what else our readers should bring with the on their next road trip!

Rebecca Nguyen
Rebecca Nguyen
Rebecca is an experienced automotive motorsports photographer and enthusiast of all things with wheels. Former Marketing and Project Coordinator for several aftermarket brands, Rebecca has a unique perspective developed from being on several different sides of the automotive world. From developing innovative automotive products to doing her own DIY modifications on her 2003 Subaru WRX and 2014 Ducati Monster, Rebecca’s passion for the hobby brings fresh ideas to The Journal. In addition, she has spent many years publishing event coverage for events like SEMA, Formula Drift, and Global RallyCross while coordinating the annual Future Collector Car Show in Scottsdale Arizona.


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