Apps You Should Download For Long Car Rides

A group of friends are having a great time in the back seat on a road trip
Aleksandar Jankovic/E+/Getty Images

Summer is synonymous with road trips, and you're going to need something to keep yourself occupied during those long hours on the road. These apps to download for long car rides can help you pass the time so your journey is just as fun as arriving at your destination. While you might start your trip with an iTunes playlist, after a few hours of signing alone to Adele, you're probably going to be ready to give your vocal cords a rest.

If you like to be told a story, there are plenty of apps that play podcasts to keep you on the edge of your seat with some serious drama. For bookworms, the only thing better than reading your favorite book is having the author read it to you. If you're the passenger and the driver doesn't mind, you can still marathon your favorite shows — and if you like listening to interviews there are apps for that too.

With so many ways to keep yourself entertained en-route to your destination, you might even stop asking "are we there yet?" In Los Angeles, where I live, a trip across town can quickly turn into a long car ride depending on the time of day, so having these apps at your fingertips can also save your sanity during your rush hour commute.



Audible is a great way to pass time in the car, and have your favorite books read to you — often by the author. You can get a one-month free trial that comes with one free download. I downloaded Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between by the always fabulous Lauren Graham, and it kept me company on a trip around Iceland and Scotland earlier this year.

After your trial period you can purchase a membership for $14.95 a month. If you spend a lot of time in the car solo, this is totally worth it.



If you're a diehard music fan, Spotify is a must have for road trips. Personally, I listen to Spotify all of the time. Like for hours a day — when I'm working, when I'm driving, and when I'm just doing stuff around the house. For $9.99 a month you can get Spotify Premium which cuts out the commercials, and allows you to stream without using your data.

You can make epic road-trip playlists, listen to other people's playlists — like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's PM Mix playlist, listen to podcasts, and the best part is that it does't hog the memory on your phone.



If you're the passenger, and the driver is engrossed in an Audible book, you can put in your earbuds and watch some of your favorite shows on Netflix without using any data. This is seriously the best news I have heard in years.

In order to use this you'll want to log into Netflix on your device and click the download button next to available shows. Then you can access them later without the internet. Amazon, Hulu, and Showtime do this, too so there is no reason to ever be bored on a long-haul flight, or a road trip ever again.



Podbean is a great, free podcast app that's available for both Apple and Android. If you like to listen to some funny podcasts with great interviews, this is the place to get them. A few of my faves are Anna Faris Is Unqualified, The GASP! With Geo Andy & Sam Pancake! (Lauren Graham, Mae Whitman, and Miles Heizer are all guests on separate shows), and Gilmore Guys, which is two male Gilmore Girls fans dissecting every single episode from the pilot through the revival. You could drive across the country a few times and still not be done listening to this.


Head's Up

OK, so you can only play this one if you're in the backseat with one other person, or while you're stopped. Please, no Head's Up and driving. You may have seen Head's Up on Ellen, because it's her app: It's a hysterical guessing game that's guaranteed to make everyone laugh no matter how tense things get in the car. You'll definitely want to grab this one for any kind of trip with friends and family. It's also super fun for game night, or any type of get together.


Fun Blast Trivia

If you always kill it at trivia night, you'll want to download Fun Blast Trivia. This is kind of like an app version of Trivial Pursuit with questions about pop culture, history, politics, and more. This app is guaranteed to keep you awake, which is especially important if you are the driver.


Mad Libs

Stop everything! I had no idea that Mad Libs had an app. Mad Libs is the greatest word game ever created, and now you can play it in the car on an app. If you want to laugh all the way to your destination, you're definitely going to want to download this.


Your Favorite Mobile Game

You guys, I'm not even going to pretend to know how to recommend a game to you because I have never played a game on my phone, aside from Words With Friends (which is also a super fun way to stay occupied on a long car ride). If you like to play games on your phone, check out the best mobile games of 2017, and download your favorites to pass the time.