Tricks for renting cars with surf racks, finding the best singletrack, and buying from the locals’ bike shop
It sounds liberating to throw your stuff in a duffel bag and hit the open road. See what comes your way. Plan nothing. Research nada. Book zilch ahead of time. The only problem? You may wind up searching for a campsite in the dark, spending top dollar on everything, and getting lost looking for a trail. Now, thanks to a heap of smart travel apps and websites, you can spend less time planning and researching and more time actually getting the most out of your trip.
Camp Finder ($4)
Camp Finder lets you search some 19,000 private and public campgrounds around the United States. You can see user-uploaded photos of individual campsites, read reviews, compare rates, and scour nearby activities. The app allows you to locate campsites by name, find the best-rated ones near you, or search for sites with amenities like hot showers, cabins, or Wi-Fi.
Mountain Hub (Free)
Whether you’re climbing, hiking, mountain biking, or backcountry skiing, Mountain Hub has the up-to-date details you need. A dedicated user community shares routes, conditions, and other updates, like recent avalanche activity or closures due to flooding. Track your own adventures in terms of mileage, routes, and elevation, and get inspiration from other people’s outings. Best of all, you can download 3D maps for when you’re out of cell range.
There’s a reason Google bought this Israeli-made, real-time, crowdsourced navigation app in 2013: Waze is really good at getting you where you need to go quickly. The app directs you to your destination in a range of easy-to-listen-to voices and automatically reroutes you based on traffic, accidents, and road closures. You can sync the app to your phone’s calendar so it will alert you when it’s…