Fall travel: It's synonymous with pumpkin and apple picking, bed and breakfasts and of course, leaf-peeping. But hopping in the car and heading to New England on a random weekend, fingers crossed for brilliant foliage, is so last decade. This year, make the most of your travels and guarantee yourself not only the red, orange and golden trees of fall, but everything else needed to take a perfect fall weekend getaway by using these five essential fall travel apps.
Created by the people at Yankee magazine – experts on all things New England – this app takes the guess work out of spotting fall's colors. The app lets foliage chasers check out color status by region and lets them assist their fellow "peepres" by entering new reports and uploading photos. A color-coded system – green, turning, moderate, peak, fading and gone – helps travelers plan vacations and make last-minute adjustments to road trips to maximize their fall photo opps.
For many of us, our interest in trees doesn't go far beyond pretty colors of fall. But for leaf peepers who want to learn while looking, check out the Leafsnap app from Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution. It uses visual recognition to identify the tree you're looking at by taking a photo of one of its leaves. It can currently identify the trees of the Northeast. Some shortcomings: the leaf must be photographed against a white background.
When you imagine your fall foliage road trip, chances are you don't imagine staying at a mega resort. You imagine an inn or cozy B&B with a fireplace and quilts. It can recommend inns and B&Bs near your current location and has over 10,000 photos to browse. Bonus feature: The app has recipes from more than 1,000 B&Bs around the country, because everyone knows the best part of a B&B is the second B – breakfast.
When it's all about the road trip, it's also all about the gas mileage. Whether you drive an SUV or a hybrid, chances are you're going to have to fill up on your weekend getaway. Gas Buddy uses your current location to find gas stations nearby. It relies on other users to post the prices at those gas stations and tells you how long ago the price was last updated.
It bills itself as the "ultimate new England Nature Guide," and this app from the Audubon Society just may be. With over 2,100 species of birds, butterflies, fish, insects and spiders, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, seashells, seashore creatures, trees and wildflowers, it's got you covered on pretty much everything other than leaf-peeping.