I’ve always been a lover of travelling and at any given point, I have no less than three elaborate trips planned, just to satisfy my wanderlust. Being born and raised in Ottawa, my sense of adventure was originally focused towards overseas destinations like France, Poland or Iceland. Lately, without having the time or the funds to take an extended vacation, I’ve been more inspired to explore what’s in my own backyard. Being an Ottawa native, I’m only just starting to realize how central our sleepy political town is. We are neighbours to the preserved Gatineau with it’s endless array of hiking trails, a short drive from the United States and surrounded by quaint towns perfect for weekend getaways. Weekend road trips have since become a passion of mine and keep me from feeling cabin fever within our smaller city. Since i’ve become more passionate about exploring places closer to home, I’ve enlisted the help of several different apps to make sure I stay inspired and motivated to get out of the house.
An app that helps quench my desire for road trips is the excellently made Road Trippers. Although this app is focused mainly on the United States, with the border so close to us, I find I use this function frequently. This app let’s you view a map of the United States and drop pins at potential locations that you’d like to visit. This lets you map out more than one destination and tallies up the price of gas while doing so. Not only is it amazing for visualizing your path of travel, but this app also offers suggestions based on your interests. Want to see quirky roadside oddities? National parks? Popular restaurants? This app covers absolutely everything from lodging, entertainment to food. It’s also really helpful to see what other users have contributed photo-wise and rated these potential destinations.
What would a great road trip be without the perfect soundtrack? My favourite app to source music from is Songza. Songza hosts an elaborate database of music, categorized by genre, mood and decade. I really enjoy using this app because in addition to offering playlists based on your mood, you can search playlists based on your actual activity at the moment. I never knew I needed a funky BBQ playlist but I’m glad i’ve now found the perfect one!
Another app that i’ve found is useful when I don’t have a particular destination in mind is Trover. Trover let’s you look at a map while it showcases beautiful photos taken by other users, allowing you to decide where to explore based on photogenic scenery. As an example, I can scroll around the area of Ottawa and decide where to visit based on photos of scenery, food and interesting road stops. Being a very visual person, I definitely appreciate how inspiring this app can be.
Finally, another app that I would suggest using for travel is Tinder. I know, I know, that’s not exactly what it is for. But think about the possibilities! I have a friend who is currently travelling South America, and when he enters a new city, his matches automatically align with his new location. This puts him in direct contact with locals who know all about his new city, can help him with his Spanish and show him around. I wouldn’t suggest using this app if you were spoken for, but one of the most exciting things about travel is meeting new people right?
These apps have really helped me explore my city recently and have provided me with endless weekend trip inspiration. Is there any place nearby that you’ve recently discovered? Still feeling like Ottawa has little to offer in the name of adventure?