Staying ‘Appy on Summer Road Trips


Summer is notoriously famous for military family road trips, whether it be to summer camp, visiting grandma, over the river and through the woods, or as a vacation. Long hours in the car and new destinations mean that you want to be well-equipped to handle anything that may come your way.

Below are some top “must have” apps to keep you and your family ‘appy on your long car rides this summer.

I try my best to save ipads/screen time for the kids for after lunch breaks. We really enjoy listening to music, podcasts, and audiobooks on our long car rides. If you had a library card from your city or local base library, then using Overdrive/Libby app it is super easy to access audio downloads for all ages.  We also have an Audible subscription. Another App that we have found worth the annual subscription is Epic Books. You can download audiobooks as one of the features, and we really like listening to The Boxcar Children stories.

If you are a Podcast listener, one of our family favorites for road trips is called “The Family Road Trip Trivia Podcast.” We’ve listened to almost all of them, and as a family, we do pretty well with most of the topics. Some other family-friendly podcasts are Earth Rangers and Stoopkid Stories.

Milspo tip:  If you have an American Express Platinum card you can get an annual Audible subscription free with the digital entertainment credit. Sweet!

Apps for Family

A few years ago our family discovered geocaching, which is another fun road trip activity. We like the app called “Geocaching” and there is a paid and free version. So far we’ve used just the free version and have enjoyed finding hidden gems in the area we live, but also on our family travels. We grabbed some toy cars and dinosaurs from the dollar store so that we’d be able to have small trinkets to leave behind at the cache locations.


I’m a mom who loves to adventure with my kids; especially when we travel to new places. My most used adventure app is “All Trails”. Again, I’ve found that I can access everything I need from the free version.  I like to plan trips that include hiking and nature time, and I like that All Trails shows maps, descriptions, and reviews of trails in the areas we are traveling. I find that the All Trails app pairs nicely with a fun app called “Revive.” If you turn it on during a hike/walk, the app will create your route, include pictures you took along the way, and pair music to make a fun little video of your family adventure.

While there are millions more apps out there that can help you have an ‘appy family vacation, I’ll leave you with just one more…

We enjoy checking out the night sky using the “Sky Guide” app. This is so fun and easy to use. You just download the app, open it up, and hold it skyward. You can see planets, stars, satellites, and constellations labeled and then if you have super sky lovers, you can even dig even deeper into the app and read more context about certain space elements, and track when different planets/satellites are visible from the location you are visiting.

I’d love to hear from you about your favorite family road trip apps that save your sanity. Whether you are traveling to summer camp, grandma’s house, or taking a family vacation, the use of family-friendly apps can make everyone have an ‘appy time!

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Ellen Kehs
Ellen Kehs was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois where she met and later married her high school sweetheart, Mason. Together they’ve traveled the world, most recently touching down in Florida in June 2022. She’s a mom to three little boys, Theodore (eleven), Woodrow (nine) and Maximus (six). Life is never boring with her boys! Ellen loves being a military spouse and she embodies the “bloom where you are planted” mentality. In addition to soaking up whatever current city she’s living in, she is passionate about reading and getting books in the hands of children, as well as helping other mamas connect with each other. She has a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education, a master’s degree in adolescent literacy and technology, and she teaches full-time online, in addition to being a stay-at-home mom. Her hobbies include, exploring, reading, swimming, napping, snapping pictures, playing games, baking, and loving on the little men in her life.