Essential RV Mobile Apps and Technology January 1, 2019
Technological devices and mobile apps make it incredibly easy to travel. We have relied upon various apps on a daily basis and would not consider future travel without them. By far these recommendations have provided us the information we have used to make decisions that have kept our travels safe and comfortable.
Each, or a combination, of these apps will assist in find lodging, dump/fill stations, WiFi and fuel prices among so much more. Please note that we use iPhones. However each app is usually compatible with non-Apple devices as well.
MiFi, YouFi, who-gives-a-Fi?! (Adam Sandler reference there). Depending on your cellular plan, you have a variety of options for ensuring that you can stay connected without running up a bill the size of a smaller nation’s GDP! We have an AT&T cellular plan that does not offer unlimited data. Thus we also have a Verizon data plan with a MiFi device to allow us to create hotspots anywhere we go. Additionally, between the two services we are pretty much covered anywhere in North America. This is not only convenient… it’s safe.
CAMPGROUNDS & ACCOMMODATIONS
Allstays is our go-to mobile app for finding campgrounds and accommodations. It lists campgrounds that include many different memberships (including Passport America and Good Sam). But it also includes a variety of local, state and national park options as well as others. Very rarely has Allstays let us down in our search for camping.
iOverlander has become the lifeline of overlanders traveling the America’s. It is user-generated, so it has both strengths and weaknesses. But if you are looking to find a place off the beaten path or you are at wits end about finding a last-minute camping spot and need some creative suggestions, iOverlander is full of options in most areas.
Campendium is another great mobile app that we keep more as a last resort than a go-to. With Campendium you’re going to find a lot of free camping options as well as sources of camping amenities otherwise needed (such as dump stations and water refills).
While most Passport America campsites are listed on Allstays, if you are specifically searching for a PA campsite then their mobile app is a great tool. You will be able to find all campgrounds within your search radius along with appropriate contact information.
Like Passport America, Harvest Hosts own website provides information on where to find a variety of campgrounds. We’re not going to lie – while this is listed last in terms of tech resources for finding campgrounds, Harvest Hosts is by far our favorite source of campsites.
NAVIGATION & DIRECTIONS
Apple / Google Maps
We’re not peddling anything here. Most people have their favorite map applications determined long before they hit the road. We can say that while we like the Google interface between our computer and phones, we are more inclined to use our Apple Maps on our phones while driving. Warning: Apple Maps has been known to drive us through backyard trails and into the Mississippi River!
Gaia GPS is our go-to for outdoor adventure. We would not consider a hike without running Gaia GPS in the background. Most trails are already included in the application, so you could literally follow the breadcrumbs on the app if the trail was not marked. But at the very least we encourage you to enter your parking waypoint so that irregardless of the path (or lack thereof) you find yourself exploring you will always know where you need to go to return home!
All Trails is a fantastic mobile app for hiking with plenty of reasons to upgrade to their premium features. However at the least we enjoy the search feature of the app for helping us to find hiking trails in areas we want to explore. Of course very little in life truly remains “off the beaten path.” So we’re not surprised to find that lots of other people happen to enjoy the same trails we find ourselves exploring. But this is a great source for finding, and staying, on trails. Like Gaia GPS, it uses your position to help you navigate the trail.
Google Earth is more of a last resort for us in terms of navigation. Sometimes it is fun to explore an area using Google Earth before we arrive. But for the most part we rely on our other mobile apps and technology to help us with navigation.
Gas Guru is a great mobile app that helps you locate fuel while on the road. We’ve had very few limitations in our use of the app. Most of the time the prices and locations are fairly accurate and, knock on wood, we’ve never run out of fuel!
We always have redundancies, especially when it comes to being safe. So we use Gas Buddy and Gas Guru interchangeably for the most part. Sometimes it will take one or the other longer to load or locate our current position and we switch to the other. But having both cost you nothing and gives you the best opportunity to find fuel in North America.
ENTERTAINMENT & INFORMATION
OK, after listening to all of their internal marketing commercials while trying to enjoy our playlists we finally upgraded to the premium version of Spotify. It’s worth it to us for a few reasons, removing commercials being a great first. However, we also love the fact that with the premium version of the app we are able to download playlists. We love our music and enjoy listening to it even when we are long out of range of radio and mobile service!
Who doesn’t have Netflix (or share their friend or family member’s account) at this point in life? It’s a relatively inexpensive way to ensure that you can distract yourself when distractions from the road are needed. Plus it has put a positive spin on the word “binge.”
We use Chromecast to cast pretty much anything from our phones or computers to our television. It’s a modest and somewhat makeshift way of staying connected to the entertainment world. But whether we’re catching up on other travel vloggers on YouTube or binging our latest favorite Netflix series, the Chromecast enables us to connect our devices to our “big screen” (a modest, 15 inch television!)