We recently made a drive from Toronto to Baltimore and, not being familiar with the area, I was looking around for route suggestions and things to see and do along the way when I stumbled on a pretty spectacular resource: Roadtrippers.com. The site bills itself as “maps built for travelers” and they’re not kidding. I first came across them on Twitter when they shared an article on The Most Photogenic Places in America’s Northeast. Since it happened to overlap with my yet-undefined travel plans, I carved out some time that weekend that check out the rest of their website and was quickly blown away by how useful it was.
Roadtrippers lets you browse specific interests (attractions, food & drink, accommodation, camping, etc.) in a particular geographic location or plan a trip from point A to point B (or C or D or Z). These are set up as map layers, allowing you to turn these on and off at will, depending on what you are looking for. If you bookmark any of the locations on the map, the software will automatically route you through it, saving you the guesswork of trying to find the best route to see everything you want to see. Travel times between locations are provided and you can change the order of your stops with a simple drag and drop or manually add locations that aren’t flagged on the map. Even the estimated cost of gas for the trip is given to you!
You can also specify how far off your route you are willing to go and potential points of interest will be displayed along your route within that range in every direction, allowing you to tweak your itinerary should something else catch your eye. The individual listings also include images and visitor reviews where available, making it easier to decide if something is worth your while. And the quality of the information is top notch – I came across several points of interest that weren’t listed in any official travel guides. If you are after the weird an whacky off the beaten path, this is your new Bible.
You can save your itineraries once you create a free account, which you can also use to bookmark your “wish list” stops and dream destinations for any future trip planning. As if this weren’t enough, there is a whole slew of travel guides with suggested trip itineraries, as well as trip planning resources such as packing lists and basic outdoor survival guides (though these are harder to locate if you are actually looking for them, but they’re there, so take a browse).
All in all, this is a pretty spectacular resource that’s easy to use, highly visual, and packed with whacky and weird destinations you might not otherwise know about. And my favourite part? Canadian destinations are on the list too! As is the rest of the world, for that matter, albeit those listings are a lot more sparsely populated at this point in time. If you are planning a trip in North America, though, this site is pure gold. Two big thumbs up. Did I mention it’s also 100% free to use and not littered with annoying ads?
There is a companion mobile app as well. It definitely has some kinks to work out, however, as it doesn’t work offline and you really need a strong signal for it to load on your mobile. I also couldn’t turn off the different layers to declutter my screen when using the Android app, so I didn’t get much use out of it on this particular trip. But I was more excited about the website anyway, which is just plain AWESOME.
Check it out and happy road tripping!