7 Best GPS Apps for Your Travel Style

7 Best GPS Apps for Your Travel Style (2023)

We’ve categorized the best GPS apps for your smartphone based on travel style. So, if you’re looking for the best GPS for a road trip, international travel, overlanding, RVing, and more, we have the best GPS app for you…

We kick off our list with the two best standard GPS apps to use worldwide. And THEN, we dig into specialized GPS apps that are better for certain types of travel.

We’ve named the best overall, in high traffic areas, offline, innovative, road trip, overlanding (offroading), and RV GPS. 

In many cases, you’ll want to keep two or more on your smartphone for different uses. But in all cases, these apps will get you where you need (and want!) to go.

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1. Best Overall GPS: Google Maps

mobile google maps best gps maps

There’s no denying that Google is the behemoth of all-things-knowledge, and that includes geography. So, it’s no surprise that Google Maps is considered the best overall GPS worldwide. 

You can download Google Maps in the Apple store and Google Play

Google Maps has all the standard navigation features people want: real-time traffic, transit and navigation, voice-guided navigation, offline maps, search for business and points of interest, etc.

So, it’s a go-to for standard travel anywhere in the world. HOWEVER, it’s not necessarily the best app for certain types of travel. 

For instance, it has a disclaimer stating that “navigation isn’t intended to be used by oversized and emergency vehicles.” RVers, therefore, should refer to #7 on this list.

And as you’ll see with the following apps, there are better options depending on your travel lifestyle. (It’s worth noting Google Maps is a big battery drain, just like the following app…)

2. Best GPS in High Traffic Areas: Waze

best gps apps

Waze gives Google Maps a run for its money for everyday and standard travel. It uses crowd-sourced data to route your trip and provide real-time traffic updates. Its effectiveness in finding the quickest route around traffic makes it extremely popular in urban areas.

Its popularity grew so quickly after launching, in fact, that Google realized it should acquire it, which it did in 2013. 

Since its data is crowd-sourced, it isn’t necessarily the best app for remote or less populous areas. It needs crowds, after all, to be at its best. But there are other apps for those situations…

3. Best Offline GPS: Maps.Me

Maps.Me is a favorite among international travelers because it doesn’t need cell data or wifi. It gives you offline access to maps worldwide and provides driving, walking, and cycling navigation. 

Travelers can avoid purchasing an international plan for data, AND the app is free. It’s become so popular you can now select it as the primary GPS for CarPlay.

Maps.Me also includes ready-made travel guides for hundreds of destinations around the world. You can select one of the travel guides in the app or select points of interest (POIs) on the maps as you travel.

4. Best Innovative GPS: Sygic GPS Navigation

Sygic GPS Navigation could have also taken the title of best offline GPS since it has 3D offline maps of all the countries in the world. However, where it really shines is innovation, especially when it comes to safety features. The Premium version contains some amazing features!

Look at its long list of innovative features:

  • Dynamic Lane Assistant guides you into the correct lane
  • Head-up Display (HUD) projects navigation onto the windshield of your car, making driving at night safer
  • Dashcam records the road ahead and automatically saves a video in case of an accident
  • Real View Navigation is an augmented reality feature for even better and safer driving experience
  • Apple CarPlay Connectivity – all navigation features on your car’s built-in display.
  • Cockpit shows you the real-time performance of your car.

Sygic GPS also has an Electric Vehicle Mode that you can use to find nearby charging stations, check their availability, plan your route, and even pay directly in the app.

5. Best Road Trip GPS: Roadtrippers

Roadtrippers lives up to its name as an excellent resource for road warriors. It enables you to build your perfect road trip plotted along a map. You can then use the app to guide you on your road trip.

The app syncs seamlessly with the Roadtrippers website, linking any trips you’ve saved or placed you love across devices. So, if you prefer to plan your trip on a computer, you can easily transition to your phone or tablet on the road.

It certainly excels at finding the best things to do along the way, whether you’re planning ahead or en route. You can also get inspiration from their ready-to-go trip guides of “must-travel” routes.

6. Best Overlanding GPS: GAIA GPS

Gaia GPS is a go-to for hikers, backpackers, skiers, off-roaders, and other outdoor enthusiasts. No cell service is needed to navigate trails and backcountry adventures. 

You can plan offroad travel, find campsites, and use GPS coordinates to mark your base camp and points of interest.

It’s important to note that the free version does not allow offline use. However, the premium and GAIA GPS Outside+ plans are only a few bucks a month. So, you get a lot of great features at a minimal cost.

7. Best RV GPS: RV Life Pro

rv on the road

RV Life Pro is an entire suite of apps designed for RVers. You can read how to do RV Trip Planning with RV Life Pro, and why it’s an all-around great resource for RVers. (PLUS there’s a big discount code in the article).

But, for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on the RV Life app, which is the included RV-safe GPS. This GPS system takes into account your RV’s height, weight, and certain preferences you select to plan your route.

As some RVers have learned the hard way, regular GPS systems might guide you straight into a low bridge or onto a dangerously curvy road. RV Life Pro routes you around such obstacles, including low clearances, steep grades, propane restrictions, and weight limits. 

Do you prefer to travel by RV?

mike and jennifer wendland the RV Lifestyle

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