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5 great free boredom-busting apps for your next road trip

Test your trivia knowledge, listen to a bunch of free audiobooks, keep an automated travel journal, and more—all for free with these road trip-worthy apps.

5 great free boredom-busting apps for your next road trip
[Source photos: Alessandro Biascioli/iStock; Luke Richardson/Unsplash; Johannes Plenio/Unsplash]

Remember traveling? With any luck, it might be a thing again this summer. And though it may feel weird to hit the open road like old times, one thing hasn’t changed: driving for hours on end can get really boring.

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Thanks to modern technology, however, it’s easier than ever to stay entertained. Here are a handful of apps to download before you go.

Audiobooks aplenty

If you’ve got a library card, you can listen to a whole bunch of audiobooks for free with the Libby by OverDrive (Android, iOS) app.

And if you don’t have a library card, you should. Check to see if you can get one online from your local library. You’ll need your card number to use the app, but once you’re in, you’ll be able to cue up audiobooks that are available within your library system.

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Mine has over 200 available: a nice mix of classics, self-help, fiction, and several other genres. Better yet, when you’re not behind the wheel, you have access to thousands of books and magazines as well.

Traveling trivia

Designed specifically for road trips, Car-tegories (Android, iOS) tests your knowledge across several Trivial Pursuit-like categories.

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Each card features 10 correct answers, which makes for a straightforward scoring system, and there are plenty of cards in the free version to keep you and your co-pilots guessing for quite some time. Don’t take too long, though: there’s a timer, which can be set for 60, 75, or 99 seconds.

It’s tough to nail all 10 answers even with the longest timer, but once you’ve aced them, you can buy additional packs of topics for 99¢ a pop.

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Automated travel blogging

So you’ve taken a bunch of photos along the way—some of which have cool stories behind them. Now what?

The free Journi (Android, iOS) app leverages the time and location data from your photos and arranges them on a map, even if you upload them all at once.

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You can add some written context to each photo and invite friends and family to live vicariously through you as your travels unfold. Your trips are viewable as timelines or in map mode and you can order photo books directly from the company when you get back home.

There’s plenty of functionality in the free version, while the premium version adds higher-res photos, online backup, a terabyte of storage, and discounts on photo books.

Learn like a local

Whether you’ve rolled into town or you’re just passing through, the free Clio (Android, iOS) app surfaces nearby historical attractions, including walking and driving tours created by local historians.

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Tours are crowd-sourced, meaning you could even pay it forward by submitting your own. There are plenty to choose from, too: just within a few miles of my current location, for instance, there are 10 pretty interesting-looking entries—and I live in a sleepy suburb well north of Boston.

Crank the tunes

Leveraging the same library system as the aforementioned Libby by Overdrive app, Freegal Music (Android, iOS) grants you access to millions of downloadable songs thanks to your library card.

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It acts similarly to other music apps, including the ability to create your own playlists. And there’s real music on there: like, bands you’ve actually heard of.

You get to keep the tracks you’ve downloaded, so fire up the app, enter your library card number, download a couple thousand miles’ worth of songs, and be on your way.

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