Jason travels the country full-time with his wife Abigail, and three children in a converted school bus.
A lot of us RV to get away from our connected lives, but let’s be honest, technology can make some things a whole lot easier. The smartphone is helping RVers and road trippers everywhere experience travel with ease. We use lots of apps when we are on the road and have compiled the following list of our favorites.
Camp & RV – AllStays $9.99
Ten bucks might seem steep for an app, but AllStays has the most complete listings of campgrounds out there with over 30,000, as well as Walmarts, BLM lands, truck stops, and other overnight parking opportunities. Everything is nicely filterable based on your needs. The data is all built into the app, so you can use it when there is no cellular service available. It’s our number 1 choice for the most important RV app.
RV Parky – Free
RV Parky is another great campground locator app. It’s not quite as complete and extensive as AllStays’ app, but it’s free and does have some nice features. We particularly like the ability to save places you like or want to visit.
The Weather Channel – Free
Of all the weather apps available, we like The Weather Channel’s the best. Its simple interface is a breeze to manage but packed with features. Getting an alert that “rain will arrive at 3:45” when it’s bright and sunny out at 3:30 can be a godsend. Hourly forecasts go up to 48 hours, and the daily shows 15 days. You can even check the road conditions on your route.
Storm Radar – Free
No RVer has just one weather app, and this is our favorite second. Storm Radar is also from The Weather Channel, but it jumps you right into the most powerful radar screen you’ll find in an app, with a whopping six hours of future forecasted rader. It comes with layers for wind speed, temperature, and more.
Coverage? – $2.99
The price is a little steep for this no-frills app, but it comes in handy. It’s a map of the four major US cell phone carriers coverage areas, so you can check to get a rough idea of what your service will be like where you are going. You can filter by carrier, and by speed (LTE, 4G, etc.). The app is put together by full-time RVers Cherie and Chris of Technomadia and rvmobileinternet.com, so you can be confident that it’s up to date.
State Lines – $4.99
Another not-so-cheap app from the folks at Technomadia, State Lines is useful and fun. It tells you invaluable info about the laws of the state you are in or are going to. Things like tax rates, smoking bans, traffic laws, rest area overnight rules, and more. We’ve used it more than a few times for fun when there’s no cell service to pass the time, looking for quirks in different states. The Technomadia app bundle ($8.99) includes State Lines, Coverage, and Public Lands (a $2.99 app that shows where BLM and any other public lands are).
Genius Scan – Free
This app is great for scanning pieces of paper into you phone. Whether you need to email off a signed letter, or want to save a campground’s info sheet, the Genius Scan app uses your phone’s camera to take a photo of a document, then you show it where the corners are and it flattens it out and deletes the background just like a scan. You can save the photo to your phone, send it off in an email, or various other functions. You can even scan multiple pages into a single document. Its companion app – Genius Fax – allows you to send a fax in the same fashion for a fee.
DocuSign – Free
Docusign is invaluable for anyone that needs to sign things or get signatures while you are on the road. Simply load a document and sign with your finger. Many businesses are using DocuSign for all of their contracts, whether mobile or not, so you know it’s safe and secure. The free version allows you a basic number of documents, and you can pay for more.
Google Photos – Free
Google Photos is invaluable for the phone photographer. It gives you unlimited storage space for all of the photos you take, and it automatically loads them to the cloud for safe-keeping. No more losing all your photos when your phone decides to die, and no more notifications from iCloud that you don’t have enough storage space.
Trip Advisor – Free
Trip Advisor is our go-to app to find activities in an unknown area. It can’t be beat for its massive database of restaurants and things to do, all reviewed by people just like you.
GasBuddy – Free
When you’re filling a 100-gallon tank and getting 7 mpg, fuel prices matter. GasBuddy lets you know the cheapest station around you with real-time fuel prices, so you can save big bucks by fueling up at the next exit instead of this one.
Roadtrippers – Free
Roadtrippers is a stylish trip-routing software for any road warrior. What makes it so special is the ability to find things to do and places to eat and stay along your route. It’s a “big-picture” planning tool for your vacation, allowing you to decide the best places to spend the night, and the cool little attractions just off the route. If we’re honest, we much prefer the Roadtrippers website to the app, but we use it so much that the app is a handy companion once we’ve planned out a trip on the web.
SkyView – Free
If you want to know what star that is in the sky, or if you’re trying to catch a peek at the International Space Station, SkyView is for you. It’s a map of the heavens, and you can hold it up to the sky and move it around as it automatically centers itself based on the part of the sky you are looking at. Its red map keeps your eyes from adjusting, so you can keep having the best view of the stars.
Redbox – Free
Redbox – the kiosk for checking out movies – beats Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube for one reason, the movies are current. Pair that with the fact that you don’t need an internet connection to watch something, and Redbox DVDs can be a lifesaver on rainy nights in an area with little-to-no cell service, or for the data savers out there. There are more Redbox locations than ever, they are even installing them in McDonald’s now, and you don’t have to return the movie to the same location. Just drop it off at a Walmart along the way. Use the Redbox app to find locations and see what is in stock.
iExit – Free
iExit is one of the most useful apps out there for interstate travel. It takes your location and uses it to tell you what services are available at the upcoming exits. It’s simple, brilliant, and essential. It even has embedded fuel prices and yelp ratings for restaurants.
Instagram – Free
OK, it’s one of the most ubiquitous apps out there, but if you’ve been avoiding it, give Instagram a try. It’s just about the best way to keep people abreast of your travels without having to write blog posts. Just snap a photo, upload it with a caption, and done. You can automatically have them sent to Facebook, too. Instagram is also a great way to find cool sites nearby. Just enter a search for a desitination and see what pops up. Use Instagram to dream of all the locations you want to see. You won’t believe how many RVers are Instagramming.
HistoryHere – Free
HistoryHere is an app from The History Channel that does just what it sounds like it does. Wherever you are, it will let you know historic events that happened at that spot, curated by History Channel experts. It even includes walking tours.
What are your favorite apps for when you are out on the road? Let us know in the comments!