Road Trip

The One App You Need for Every Road Trip

What makes this app so amazing that almost 50 million people use it?

This driving app is so popular that Google bought it for over $1 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “b”). So what makes Waze so amazing that almost 50 million people use it? Its community aspect—users report traffic jams, accidents, and police speed traps, so you’ll always get real-time information on what’s ahead. Here’s why you need to download Waze before you embark on any road trip:

The Price

It’s totally free—you won’t have to pay extra to get any of the features. (And no, Waze isn’t paying us to write this article either, we just really love using it.)

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Community-Edited Maps

Waze is like Wikipedia for maps—community editors are constantly updating the app’s maps, so hopefully you’ll never run into a dead end or closed street again.

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Find Cheaper Gas

Users update fuel prices in real time at gas stations, so you’ll be able to see exactly where you should fill up for the cheapest tank.

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Real-Time Traffic and Road Information

Waze uses data from people who are driving with the app open, as well as user-reports, to alert you to traffic jams or road hazards. The app will also automatically reroute you if there’s a major delay up ahead and a faster route is available. It can also alert you to speed traps lurking up the road.

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Voice Navigation

The app uses turn-by-turn voice navigation so you won’t have to take your eyes off the road to check directions. To make your ride even more fun, you can turn on special voice packs and have a celebrity (like Arnold Schwarzenegger) guide you to your destination. (Our favorite: the “boy band” setting, which sings your directions.)

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Customize Your Route

Just washed your car and don’t want to go down any dirt roads? You can set your route to avoid them, or customize your drive to stay off freeways or avoid tolls.
You can download Waze for Android, Apple, or Microsoft.

Do you love or hate Waze? Tell us in the comments.

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By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

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