in the United
States, there are places waiting to be
discovered this summer
-- jagged mountain peaks, roadside diners with
heaps of eccentric flair and
candy-coloured beach coves that
cry out for skinny-dipping adventures.
major road trip-planning tools, such as AAA, Google Maps and Mapquest, bypass these inspiring sights, assuming that most travellers only want the fastest route
between points A and B.
Roadtrippers, a website and free iPhone app that launched in July
2012, promises to do the opposite – plan the most interesting road trip between any two
departure and arrival points you choose. (No Android version of the app is yet
available.) It susses out the most memorable stretches of US open road, based on a database of more than 20,000 points of interest. Once
it has ferreted out an itinerary, you can follow the journey using turn-by-turn
directions on Google Maps.
After you sign up and enter your starting and stopping points, the visually inviting website (and app) will suggest
various routes, each signposted with worthwhile stops and lodging. It will also
give an estimated
trip length, drive time and petrol cost, depending on your vehicle’s average fuel efficiency.
you have a particular route in mind, you can plug in its name as a
starting point, searching for worthwhile stops along the way. We recently searched for Going to the Sun Road in
Montana, and the site fetched details about the don’t-look-down, 50-mile gem that runs through Glacier National Park, as well as nearby park sights, such as
off-the-charts picturesque 8,855ft-high Mount Grinnell.
user can save the road trip to a “bucket list” or add it to an active itinerary, working with photos and information about recommended
attractions. A team of nine editorial workers writes the copy, though the site
also includes road trip ideas from content partners like online magazine Fathom.
you’re in need of inspiration, you can choose from pre-prepared trip ideas, categorised by themes such
as “parks and gardens”, “science”, “sweet tooth”, “offbeat shops” and “races and rodeos”.
you choose a category, all corresponding attractions will be mapped along your route. You can then expand or contract the distance you're
willing to stray from your initial route
from 10 miles to unlimited.
instance, we settled on a particular itinerary between Going to the Sun Road in
Montana and Yosemite National Park in California. The site labelled a 1,220-mile route
that would take 22 hours of driving and cost
$208 in petrol. We sought “offbeat attractions” within a 50-mile
radius of our route, and Roadtrippers revealed a few intriguing stops, such as
Idaho's Evel Knievel Snake River Monument – described as "a monument that looks like a grave commemorating the
(failed) attempt by stuntman Evel Knievel to jump the Snake River”. According to
the map, the monument is conveniently located next to the main route, so we
added it as a waypoint.
After building the
itinerary on the
website, we were able to
instantly sync it with the iPhone app. If users want a portable copy of detailed driving
directions, they can print Google
turn-by-turn directions from
the browser version or view them in the Roadtrippers iPhone app.
founders say that, by the end of June, the browser version will enable its
users to book accommodations while creating itineraries, and a new version of
the app will be released to make it nearly as comprehensive as the website. By August,
the founders hope to expand the site’s and app’s coverage to Canada and
Sean O’Neill is
the travel tech columnist for BBC Travel