Do you remember life before iPhone and Android? Can you believe people used to RV without using a super computer that fits in your pocket and is connected to all of the information in the entire world?
Just think, people literally used paper maps to navigate and road signs to be informed of where they were, and had to wander blindly into an RV park, not knowing if it had clean power. You also had to pay good money to eat at a restaurant or buy a ticket to an attraction without hundreds of your peers vouching for it before you went.
Today that is all changed of course, and we use our phones, tablets, and laptops to take control of our entire trip. From pinpointing fuel stops and getting recommendations on local eats and adventures, to finding the perfect campsite, RVing has never been more efficient. But to make this efficiency most effective, you have to have the right apps.
Let’s discuss a few of the apps that Janet and I use to make the most of our trips, apps that save us valuable time and keep us safe and well-informed.
RV Trip Wizard
This “do it all” app is fantastic to not just plan your trip, but understand costs, navigate, and get great campground and RV park reviews.
The visual trip planner lets you see the route with points of interest, fuel stops, and campgrounds. With unbiased reviews from real RVers, you get all the info you need about an overnight stay including features, hookup information, and more. You can even estimate the cost of your trip with fuel and campground fees.
You also get to customize the app to your particular RV. Put in the height and weight of your RV, and the app takes this into account for navigation so you aren’t in danger of low overpasses or bridges not able to handle your rig.
This app will most certainly make planning and navigating your RV trip as easy as possible.
$49/year – rvtripwizard.com
This app has features like RV Trip Wizard, but also has a free version that allows you to discover camping spots and get advice and reviews from people who’ve been there.
The Pro version of The Dyrt features a trip planner that allows you to choose your camping style and driving preferences, and find top-rated campsites. There are even map layers that allow you to find free dispersed camping on public lands.
No cell service? No problem with their downloadable maps, lists, and saved trips.
Free for lite version, $35.99/year for Pro version – thedyrt.com
This is one of the best apps for enjoying free overnights where you’ll have an experience thrown in. Harvest Hosts is a membership program that allows “self-contained RVers” to have unique overnight stays at wineries, breweries, golf courses, and farms.
They say “self-contained” because there are generally no hookups at these spots, so you must be ready to “boondock” when you visit a Harvest Hosts property. These spots are also more than likely beautiful, peaceful, and quiet, being wineries, farms, and golf courses. Or there are also the breweries where a bit more liveliness may ensue, with activities such as axe throwing, nightlife, etc.
While there is a membership fee, there are no costs to actually stay overnight, so it is best to purchase something from the host. If you stay in a winery, enjoy a wine tasting or purchase a bottle of wine. If you stay at a museum, be sure to tour. If you stay at a farm, visit their gift shop or buy some eggs. This is the host’s “payment” for being in the program, as they are not paid by Harvest Hosts to open their property to members.
Harvest Hosts currently has over 2,000 hosts, so finding one is almost certainly never a problem. They are perfect for long hauls when you may not want to pay for a campground, as you don’t intend to hook up.
Our Leisure Travel Van is perfect, as most Harvest Hosts have a size requirement, and our 25 feet always fits whatever the host property has to offer.
$79/year for Classic membership, $119/year to add golf course properties – harvesthosts.com
This app is an absolute must-have. This gateway to explore America’s outdoor and cultural destinations is geotagged for where you are, or you can search for where you are going.
Here you can book an RV or camping spot in state and national parks, purchase tickets and tours to attractions, or just browse for inspiration and trip planning.
Recreation.gov is a service provided by 12 participating federal partners, including the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and the US Army Corps of Engineers. So rest assured you will find the best of America’s beauty in this easy-to-use app.
You have 3,600 facilities and over 103,000 individual reservable sites across the country at your fingertips, to create lasting memories as you explore our amazing country.
Free – recreation.gov
If hiking or biking is your thing, All Trails will be your go-to app to find the best user-curated trails to explore.
We love All Trails because we can use the app where we are, or find places we want to go. Enjoying the great outdoors is precisely why we started RVing, and All Trails allows us to see so much more of it.
There is a free account that allows you to browse trails (both hiking and biking), navigate online, keep track of your favorites, record and share your activity, and be a part of their awesome community of like-minded outdoor enthusiasts.
With the Pro account, you get all of that plus the ability to download maps for offline navigation (kind of important when hiking), stay safe with “Lifeline” (keeps friends and loved ones informed of your plans and location, and sends alerts), and enjoy the app ad-free.
I love to mountain bike and All Trails gives me not just the information, but the inspiration to get out there and find new places to be challenged by and enjoy.
Free for lite version, $29.99/year for Pro version – alltrails.com
These are our go-to apps, and we use them every time we RV. In fact, we use them all the time when we are not RVing, too, as I’m always looking for our next adventure and use these tools for research.
I believe the phone and app ecosystem makes RVing even better, and I wouldn’t leave home without these amazing tools.
See even more useful apps for RVing in our Leisure List 50+ Essential Apps for RVers!