The great American experience encompasses so much. The U.S. is a country with 350 million faces to meet, 50 states to explore, and over four million miles of highways. Highways leading past rock deserts, through alligator-filled back water bayous, into midwest northern woods, and past salty coastal towns.
With so much to see, it is always helpful to have some guidance; a local’s insight, a way to get a cheap last minute flight, or a service that helps get you anywhere you want to go. Whether you need a meal delivered to your hostel door, a last minute flight across the country, want to see the home of Elvis Presley, or simply want to find the best happy hour in town – we’ve got you covered.
Sift through the best of the best with these 10 websites and apps that will help ease you into the American experience, and make you feel like a local wherever you go!
1. Roadtrippers – A road trip essential
Renting a car or buying an old van is a perfect way to experience all the riches of the land of the free and the home of the brave. In my opinion, there is nothing quite like an American road trip. The seamless state borders roll out one landscape after the next, and there is always something exciting and weird, especially in the smallest towns. Roadtrippers creates custom maps & custom itineraries built around you, and their easy-to-use website allows you to filter through hotels, attractions, natural wonders, and even has a ‘weird stuff’ category!
2. Wanderu – Ground travel made easy
If you don’t want to rent a car to travel the long miles, kick back and relax on a bus or train by booking with Wanderu. Wanderu makes booking ground travel a breeze and has grown into the largest ground travel search website in North America. Wanderu provides service to over 85% of the US, and was listes in TIME magazine as a “Favorite New App,” for travelers. Be sure to check it out for your bus and train travel!
3. Thrillist – The ultimate foodie finder
Thrillist is the ultimate online resource for finding the best local restaurants, bars, and culinary gems of a city. They are honest as hell and have a ‘top ten’ list or ‘best of’ list for absolutely anything you should fancy. Thrillist does all the digging for you and has lists and lists of secret bars, famous restaurants, and can’t miss meals!
4. Favor – You found the food, now get it delivered!
If you’re too tired after an all day road trip, a day full of activities, or maybe just don’t have the transportation at your hotel or hostel to get you to a restaurant, Favor is here to the rescue. You just go on the Favor app, customize your food order from the list of local food trucks, fast food places, and popular hotspots, and a favor runner will personally deliver it to you. How easy, lazy, and incredibly American is that?
5. Adioso – Flight search reinvented for humans
If you’re short on time, you will probably have to fly to get from one coast to another, or sometimes even one state to another. That is where Adioso comes in. Adioso brings the human element back into online flight searches by narrowing down the cheapest and most reasonable flight catered to you.
6. Localeur – eat, play, and stay like a local
Localeur is a community of locals who want to help you experience their city in the best way possible. Currently, Localeur is only present in 20 US cities, but the list is growing every week and likely be in most major cities within the coming year. Log in to connect with locals and learn the best brunch spots, insider coffee clubs, hidden bars, crazy adventure activities, and so much more.
7. Airbnb – belong any and everywhere
Airbnb is one of the greatest international housing sites, and is incredibly useful in the states because it offers affordable options in some of the loveliest areas of town where hostels may not be located. Hotels can be incredibly expensive, and airbnb is a great alternative to the corporate style feels you get with the large hotel chains.
8. Lyft – rides when you need them
We’ve all experienced it – the sketchy cab driver, the time we didn’t have cash, or couldn’t find a cab. Lyft is the solution. This ride platform, similar to the more universal Uber, allows you to request a ‘lyft’ on the app, view reliable driver’s profiles around you, and has a car available to you within 5 minutes.
9. Googlemaps – the ultimate navigating buddy
A list of travel-aids in the states couldn’t be complete without mentioning Googlemaps. Googlemaps is an incredible GPS tool that makes navigating a breeze. I know what you’re thinking (what if I don’t have wifi)? …You’re in luck! The newest function on maps allows you to download an area so you will be able to get directions and view points of interest without an Internet connection – here’s how.
10. FLYR – find the cheapest domestic flights
FLYR runs millions of simulations to establish the best-to-worst ratio in terms of flight affordability and volatility. It gives you the break down on average prices between domestic cities, highest prices, and lowest prices. Did you know that the average fare goes up 28 times and down 25 times in the 180 days before departure? WHAT? This means that the price of a flight may change every 3 days, FLYR is here to help you mitigate risk, and establish a smart buying plan.
Do you have experience with these or other apps and websites? Let us know in the comments below!