I remember those middle-of-the-night road trip departures as a kid. My family would pile into a teal suburban and take off for the great American road trip. It is how I remember spending my summers as a child and also how I like spending them as a not-so-old adult. The only difference between the two is that instead of handheld games of Hungry Hungry Hippos and Sorry, where in one bump you could lose all of the pieces, I now consult various apps to keep up that road trip innocence and whimsy.
With the 4th of July just days away, many families and friends are hitting the road in search of the great American road trip. While gas and weather apps are all fine and well, here are a few apps to help master the fun of the U.S. road trip.
Roadside America App: When I travel on road trips in the U.S., I frequently find those classic “world’s largest” objects and oddities thanks to the Roadside America website. Luckily, for those of us who can’t resist seeing the world’s tallest chest of drawers or even the world’s largest easel, Roadside America has an app for that. The app allows you to purchase different packages based on where you are going. If you are like me and frequently find yourself all over the nation in search of roadside oddities, you can purchase a package that includes the US and Canada. The app tells you where the wackiest and weirdest roadside attractions may be on the road up ahead. You can also keep track of how many giant watermelons or balls of twine you have seen.
State Plate Bingo: The days of just going on the honor system with the license plate game on family road trips are gone. Now you can ensure cousin Nancy wasn’t lying when she said she saw Alaska in the middle of Kansas. State Plate Bingo allows you to keep track of what state license plates you see. It also provides a little bit of information on the state including its nickname and capital. While I first saw this app recommended for little kids on family road trips, even those of us a little older can get a game going in the car. The first to see all of the states technically wins. What that prize may be can be settled perhaps at the hotel bar upon arrival.
Georeader: On countless road trips, I have passed by those historical markers, only noticing them from the car window in a brief blur. I cruise by and wonder what that site might have been, but I have already passed it. Georeader solves this problem as it reads out loud historical markers and other points of interests as you drive by them. Its database implores those of Historical Markers, the National Register of Historic Places and Historic Bridges. Georeader holds some 120,000 points of interests across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. This is the app for history fans that never want to miss another house where George Washington slept while on the road.
TV Food Maps: Nothing gets underneath my skin more than when I pass some hole in the wall, world famous food joint while on the road. I get home, turn on the TV, and there it is, except Anthony Bourdain is eating the best barbecue and I’m not. TV Food Maps app is great for those who don’t want to miss restaurants and eateries that have been profiled on various Food Network and Travel Channel shows. The app allows you to find, track and eat at these must-eats from 25 shows and over 2,600 restaurants. Along with menus and videos, as you are driving, you can get location based notifications when you are near that dive featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
What’s your favorite app to make road trips more fun?
Photo: Amy Wiener
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