Google wants you to find your inner child. The best way to do that? Go on a field trip, even in the city where you interact every day. In light of the thrifty economy, where many schools can no longer afford to take full classes on field trips and workers don’t have much of an expendable income, Google has stepped up with an app that reviewers are saying makes field trips “uber affordable.”

The app Field Trip, released over the summer, helps its users locate thousands of interesting places for the inquiring mind—and many are free. The app acts as an automated guide, meaning that it alerts you when you’re close to a location, offering you interesting facts and usable information in relation to that point of interest. Plus it’s customizable.

There are three modes of notifications: “Feeling Lucky,” “Explore,” and “Off.” Each is based on how many alerts you want to receive: The first sends sporadic messages, limited to specified interests; The second pushes more information for those open to any and all curiosities; And the third disables notifications completely for a more self-service experience.

Not only does Field Trip teach its users about their surroundings, but it also sends discounts to their phones based on their locations. This is an opt-out feature that the app provides, just in case users are purely in for the experience and don’t want to spend any money. If this is the case, a user can subscribe to notifications in other categories, such as “Architecture,” “Cool & Unique,”  or “Historic Places & Events” rather than “Offers & Deals” or “Food, Drinks & Fun.”

This “consistent stream of information” that Google provides through the app was created in conjunction with recently purchased Zagat, Eater, Inhabitat and The Daily Secret. Zagat, perhaps the most well-known of these resources, is a publication specializing in restaurant lists and reviews based on consumer recommendations. Eater, a source for frequent diners and drinkers, offers updates on food-related items such as celebrity chefs and dining trends. Inhabitat is a weblog dedicated to clean and efficient design that tracks innovation in technology and architecture. The Daily Secret, on the other hand, is an email newsletter-based venture that provides insight into a subscriber’s city, covering restaurants, nightlife, sightseeing and anything in between—but with a focus on hidden gems and coveted locale.

All these forces combined into one app is worth a download, even if it is just intended for the occasional use. With the growing popularity of “staycations,” Field Trip can help you reconnect with the city you’re already familiar with or help you discover new adventures not far from your front door—and with the beginning of a new school year, we could all use a little adventure.

Did You Know?
If the Field Trip app doesn’t fulfill your curiosity needs, there are several apps that may. These don’t automatically update you with need-to-know facts, but they do make it easy to look for food you’re in the mood for, shows you’ve been dying to see and hidden bars with expertly-made drinks. Whether you favor iOS or Droid, there is something for everyone waiting on the other end of a download. Sosh, currently limited to New York and San Francisco, is working to curate search options for Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle and Chicago. Places of interest can be bookmarked if your search brings up an interesting place you’re not quite ready to try. Scout takes these search engines even further with the ability to locate hostels, hotels and vacation homes, in addition to activities in your area.  UrbanDaddy makes the search itself more fun: After it renders the time and location for you (which can be changed manually), you move to selecting options ranging from “Dancing” to “Snacks” to “I’m Game for Anything.” Tell the app who you’re with: “Friends,” “Boss,” “Parents” or even “nobody in particular.” This renders an “And . . . ? ” category where you can finish with “and that’s all I need,” or you can push it further with more customization choosing from categories specifying types of food, the reason for the outing, if you want a celebrity chef to be cooking, or even the type of person you’re with (foodie, from out of town, etc.). Click submit and you’re given a long list of options with a map of locations. All you have to do is go.