Essential Apps for RVers
Aug 17, 2021
Getting out in your RV is a great way to see amazing places, spend some quality time with your favorite people, and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. But as with any other travel method, there’s a lot to do and keep track of to make your trip as enjoyable as possible.
You have to find your destination, locate a campground in the area, plan your route complete with fuel/rest stops that you won’t get stuck in, figure out what you will do while there, and make sure your rig is tuned up and ready to go, among other things. Luckily, as with most things these days, there’s an app for that!
Being able to have all the details of your trip at your fingertips in your smartphone has certainly made RV travel a bit more streamlined. Over the past year that we have been travelling full time in our Holiday Rambler Vacationer, we have come to use and love several apps that make life on the road a lot easier to manage! And being completely new to RVing, we needed as much info as we could get to figure out all of the things we didn’t know about owning an RV! So, below I’ll talk about the apps we have come to love and use on a regular basis. I’ll also mention a few that we have heard of from fellow RVers that have helped them along their journey as well! So, fire up your app store and get that download button ready!
Where To Go Apps
Recreation.gov is a great app to have handy for anyone who loves to get out into the great outdoors. If you love exploring National Parks, backcountry camping, trekking through Public Lands, you’ll find all the info you need right here. Recreation.gov is well organized and easy to navigate. You can find up to date weather advisories, road closures, permit information, seasonal open/close dates, tours and so much more! And if you’re going to an area that requires permitted entrance, you can apply for, buy, and store your permits right in the app for easy access.
Roadtrippers is a great way to discover some off-the-beaten-path or off-the-wall places to explore! Along with well-known destinations, this app is also a treasure trove of places you may never have heard of. You’ll find everything from roadside tourist traps to little known local museums and attractions. Once you’ve determined where to go, use the routing feature in the app to set up your travel plan. It’s a great all-in-one trip planner app that makes the whole planning process a lot easier!
Where to Stay Apps
AllStays is the go-to app for finding places to stay because of its vast database of locations. Whether you’re looking for RV parks, National/State Park campgrounds, or boondocking sites on Public Lands, you’ll be able to find a spot on AllStays! You can even search by state, campsite type, or point of interest to really zero in on where you want to be. And an interactive map gives you quick details on each site, or more details when you click on it.
See AllStays travel apps here.
Harvest Hosts is easily one of our favorite apps when we are moving locations. We typically try to keep travel stints under 4 hours, so if we have a longer distance between destinations, we like to break the trip up into smaller legs. Harvest Hosts is perfect for this! It is a network of businesses across the country including breweries, distilleries, museums, restaurants, golf courses, farms, and more that offer members a 1-night stay on their property at no charge. Its almost always dry camping (no hookups), but all they ask is that you support the business by making a purchase while you are there. The app allows you to put your route in and search for participating businesses that are on your way. You can see photos and reviews of the different places and it’s a great way to support local/small businesses during your trip!
When we are in the mood to get off-grid and boondock for a few nights, we open up the Free Roam app. In it you can search for all different types of campsites, but we’ve found that it excels at finding dispersed camping, Public Land sites or dry campgrounds, many of which are free. It provides details such as type of campsite, cell signal strength in the area, and proximity to water and dump stations. It also compiles stats from user reviews like noise level, cleanliness, campsite size, and other metrics to help you decide if it’s a good spot to check out. Just need an RV friendly parking lot to grab a few hours of sleep? You can find those in Free Roam too. The map is intuitive and easy to use when looking for a site which is a big plus in our book!
What to Do Apps
We love to go on family hikes and finding the best ones in a new area can sometimes be difficult. So, we use the AllTrails app to figure out where we want to hike during our stay. The app is full of detail and makes finding the perfect hike a breeze. The search feature has quite a few filters that let you narrow your search to exactly the type of hikes you like to do. When you find one of interest, you can read reviews of others who have hiked it, including descriptions, star ratings, photos, and date hiked. You can also create favorites lists that you can save hikes you want to do so they are easy to find again. It also has trail maps so you can track your progress, even if it takes you beyond the reach of cell service. And let’s be honest, most of the best hikes do, right?
Sometimes using an app a little differently makes it a surprise tool for another purpose. When looking for fun stuff to do, photos always make the decision easier. When you think about Instagram, you probably think of sharing pictures with your friends and family. But using the search feature and hashtag searches, Instagram becomes a great tool to find fun things to do wherever you may be! When we arrive in a new place, we throw the town name or area into an Instagram search and up pops tons of posts about places that people have explored nearby. We have found more than a few amazing experiences we didn’t know about just by searching in Instagram!
Maintain the Machine Apps
When you own an RV, there is a lot to keep track of in order to keep it in good condition both for the road and for your enjoyment as your home away from home! So instead of trying to keep all the service intervals and checklists in your head or a big spreadsheet, an app like Maintain My RV really comes in handy to remind you of all the whats and whens of RV maintenance. Depending on what kind of RV you have, you can build a custom maintenance schedule that will send you email alerts to remind you of upcoming tasks. You can keep track of expenses and receipts associated with the service items, fuel economy based on several factors, and upload important documents like warranties or insurance information to have handy if needed. That’s way better than that binder overflowing with paperwork we all have somewhere in the dark recesses of our RVs.
Learn more about the Maintain My RV app here.
Even though it’s kind of an all-in-one app for RVers, I put Togo RV in the maintenance section because it's one of few out there that do include features specifically for maintaining your rig. In addition to RV navigation, search features for finding campsites and discounts on products and services, Togo RV includes a long list of RV related checklists you can choose to utilize for your trip. Everything from maintenance and service to moving day checklists are easily accessible. These lists are a great way to keep yourself organized and hopefully prevent you from forgetting something! And having them right at your fingertips in your smartphone means you’ll be more apt to use them.
And there you have it! For us and those we’ve met, these apps have been very helpful with making our RV travels smoother and less hectic. Hopefully there were a few on this list that might help you on your journey as well! As far as we are concerned, anything that makes the tasks around planning and taking a road trip easier is always welcome because it means less time spent on that and more time spent exploring! And that’s what RVing is all about!
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