5 free apps to download before your Thanksgiving road trip

On Thanksgiving there will be turkey, there will be football, and there will most certainly be traffic.

According to AAA, a million more people will be traveling for Thanksgiving 2016 compared to last year. In fact, AAA projects that 48.7 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving. The holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Nov. 27.

While 3.69 million Americans plan to fly to their destination, a whopping 43.5 million plan to drive, an increase of 1.9% over last year. The remaining 1.44 million holiday makers will travel by cruises, trains and buses.

So with 89% of people driving this Thanksgiving, motorists should expect a bit of gridlock on the highways and interstates. Before you hit the road, AAA suggests checking the condition of your car’s battery and tires to prevent breakdowns. While you’re driving, we suggest you download these five apps to help you save money and possibly some sanity during your holiday road trip.


According to Google analytics, the best time and day to travel for Thanksgiving is 6 am on Nov. 20. The worst time to travel is 3 pm on Nov. 23, when traffic is expected to be the heaviest. Of course, most of us aren’t able to take off 4 days before the actual holiday, and will instead have to hit the road the day before, or on Thanksgiving Day itself. So for the least congested route to grandma’s house, download Waze. This navigation app taps into its community of users to offer real-time traffic information. Waze will alert you to traffic jams, accidents and road hazards on your intended route. Knowing about roadblocks ahead of time will enable you to react sooner and re-route around the chaos.


While holiday traffic is likely unavoidable, there is one travel-related silver lining this Thanksgiving — gas prices! The national average is $2.16 for a gallon of gas, which is the second cheapest it’s been at this time of year since 2008. Capitalize on the cheap fuel by downloading GasBuddy, which reports fuel prices across the US. As you plan your trip, use the trip cost calculator to estimate how much you’ll spend on gas. The money-saving app also helps you find the cheapest and closest gas stations so you can plan your route accordingly.


There’s nothing worse than taking a road trip with someone who has a small bladder. If you’ve got a long trip, chances are you’ll end up making a few pit stops on the way to Thanksgiving dinner. Still, you don’t have to drive blind; SitOrSquat is an app that uses GPS to find restrooms in your area. The app relies on users to provide bathroom locations and reviews of the conditions. Users even provide helpful details, like if the restroom is free, wheelchair accessible and equipped with a changing table. As we know, all bathrooms aren’t created equal, so the app rates each facility as a “sit” or “squat” based on its cleanliness.


A perfectly timed pit stop can be the difference between a pleasant road trip and your toddler having a complete meltdown in the backseat. To help you avoid the latter,Roadtrippers is an app that helps you find food, hotels, national parks and roadside attractions along your route. You can plan and save an itinerary ahead of time, and your saved places will sync to your phone for seamless navigation. If you’re more spontaneous, it’s also possible to search real-time for pit stops in your proximity.


If your in-laws insist on calling every 10 minutes to ask for your estimated time of arrival, do yourself a favor and download Glympse. This free app shares your location in real-time, letting loved ones see where you are and what time you’ll arrive. The best part about Glympse is that the setup is almost immediate. After downloading the app, you simply select preferred contacts and the period of time you want tracking information to be available. On the other end, anyone with a smartphone will be able to see your location — giving them peace of mind, and you some peace and quiet.

Brittany is a writer at Yahoo Finance.