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Full time travel in the digital age means we have an array of mobile apps at our disposal. With over five years of RV living under our belts, we’ve used our fair share of mobile apps for RVers and travelers. Whether you’re looking for free dispersed camping options, a place to dump your RV tanks, read campground reviews, connect with other travelers, plan your route or check the weather, there’s a mobile app or two (or three) to help you do just that. Keep reading for a list of our favorite apps for RVing and travel.
Favorite Apps for RVing
Most of the apps on this list are free to download. The one thing you should monitor is the cellular data usage of each app unless you have an unlimited wireless data plan.
1. Allstays Camp & RV
One of the best apps for RVing is Allstays Camp & RV. This mobile app is great for planning your next trip and for when you’re on the road. We paid $9.99 for the app and it has more than paid for itself.
Allstays Camp & RV has helped us find truck stops, rest areas, RV dump stations, camping options with review and so much more. Instead of having separate apps for finding a Walmart or a Pilot, we only need this one.
Read our Allstays Review to find out if it’s worth it.
GasBuddy is a free mobile app that displays user updated gas prices in the United States and in Canada. Finding cheap fuel is key to saving money on the road. There have been many instances where we have saved over $.30/gallon on fuel thanks to this app.
Whether you’re fueling up an 80 gallon gas tank like we did on our first RV or the 55 gallon diesel tank in our 2000 F350 Superduty, money saved on fuel means more for the fun fund. See our one year cost of full time RVing to get an idea of how much was spent on fuel.
You can even look up fuel prices in other cities along your route. GasBudy has several filters where you can look for specific stations and type of fuel. For example, we use the filters to search for diesel fuel at a Costco stations.
Next time you’re going an RV road trip, use this app to help plan your fuel stops to maximize savings. You can even enter to win prizes by reporting the most recent fuel prices in the free app.
Android & iPhone: http://www.gasbuddy.com/App
3. Google Maps
You may be surprised to learn that we’re not recommending Google Maps for navigation purposes. We use this free app to save all the great places we discover and new places we want to explore.
This is especially helpful when planning your next camping trip because you can save fuel stops, campgrounds, specific GPS coordinates, favorite restaurants and other designations along your route. We have just about every national park and monument in the U.S. stared on our map.
When a fellow traveler offers a recommendation, we open the Google Maps app on our smartphone and tap on “save” to add it to our map. You can even create a lists in the app to sort all your saved spots. For example, you can save all your favorite coffee roasters under a “Coffee” list.
For example, if we are driving from Tucson, Arizona to Flagstaff, Arizona, we will open Google Maps and see what stars we have along the route. That will help us determine where we want to stop and maybe even camp for a night or two. The search feature is also very easy to use to find popular destinations in an area with user generated reviews.
Android & iPhone: https://www.google.com/maps
4. Gaia GPS
Gaia GPS is one of our new go-to mobile apps. It is also a popular app for hikers and off-roaders. We love it because you can use it offline when you don’t have cell service. Just be sure to download the map(s) for the area first and it will track your position.
There is a record feature that lets you track your route so you can look back on it and have it for reference for your next trip. We have found that the tracking feature will pause unexpectedly so we make sure to check it occasionally to make sure it’s still tracking.
If you have the premium version of the Gaia App, there are layers that can help you find dispersed camping on public land through layering. The recommended layers are Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM), public lands overlay and USFS Classic.
Since we have Verizon as our cell service provider, we use the Verizon cell coverage layer to identify areas with cell coverage. You will also find layers for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and other carriers. This has been super helpful for planning backcountry trips like the Rimrocker Trail (watch the video).
Since we’re newer users to Gaia, we’re still learning what it has to offer. I’m sure there are a ton of other features we don’t even know about yet. But so far it’s definitely an app we’re finding to be useful and recommend.
Android & iPhone: https://www.gaiagps.com/
A good weather app is important when you’re traveling. We’ve used several weather apps throughout the years and have found AccuWeather to be the most reliable.
Beyond hourly and daily forecasts, the app has information on air quality and provides severe weather updates. You can customize the app to show the data that’s most relevant to you.
The location search feature makes it easy to get weather forecasts in areas you plan to travel to. This comes in very handy when planning a route to avoid severe weather including tornado watch.
We use the radar layer in this app when there are thunderstorms in the area to see precipitation type and intensity. Other layers available include satellite, current alerts, snowfall forecast and temperature contour.
Read our post on RV Safety Tips to learn more about dealing with severe weather.
Android, iPhone & Windows: https://downloads.accuweather.com/
When there is severe weather, Twitter can be a very useful tool (watch the video below). Follow @NWS for NOAA’s National Weather Service tweets. There are also separate accounts for sever thunderstorms (@NWSSevereTstorm), tornados (@NWStornado) and specific regions and cities in the United States.
Android & iPhone: https://twitter.com/download
7. Speed Test
If you’re a digital nomad and work on the road like we do, having access to good internet speed is important. The Speed Test app will show you the download and upload speed. Our average video file is over 4 gigabytes. A slow upload speed could mean taking hours to publish a video on our YouTube channel.
This app can also help save money if you frequent coffee shops for their complimentary WiFi. Before paying for that cup of coffee, test their WiFi speed to make sure it’s usable for your needs.
We do have a device to help boost the WiFi signal. Read our WiFi Booster Review to learn more.
If you plan on using public WiFi at places like coffee shops or libraries, make sure to use a VPN service to protect your privacy and decrease security risks. We use ExpressVPN which has an easy to use mobile app.
Android & iPhone: http://www.speedtest.net/mobile/
To learn more about staying connected on the road, read our post on Internet for RVers.
We love Instagram when it comes to connecting with people and making new friends. Many travelers we follow geo tag their location on Instagram posts. When we see they are nearby, it’s as easy as leaving a comment on the post or sending them a message to see if they want to hang out.
We’ve met some great people through Instagram and some of them have become life long friends.
The Instagram app is also has a great search feature that can help you find things to do at popular travel destinations or what dish to order at well known restaurants. To do this, look for the business account on Instagram or find all posts tagged with the location of the business.
Android & iPhone: https://www.instagram.com/
In addition to meeting locals and asking them for recommendations, we also use Yelp. This mobile app is great for finding everything from a veterinarian or a good mechanic to work on an old Ford diesel truck.
You can also save money by looking for check-in offers. Some businesses offer discounts to Yelp users and we’ve saved money at coffee chops and restaurants thanks to the Yelp mobile app.
The reviews on Yelp aren’t always reliable so we usually cross reference them with reviews on other apps such as Google Maps.
The Yelp app can also help you find local gems and places you may have missed otherwise. As much as we enjoy boondocking in the national forest, when it’s time to make a supply run, we like to search for local spots in town.
Android & iPhone: https://www.yelp.com/
A popular question that comes up is, “what do you do for entertainment?” Many people ask if we have a satellite dish to watch television shows. The truth is, we watch less than an hour of television per week. When we do feel like watching something, we rent a movie from RedBox. The app makes it easy to find a RedBox location and reserve a movie for pick up.
Most Walmart locations have a RedBox and there have been instances where we park our camper in the parking lot, rent a movie, watch it in the parking lot and return it before hitting the road. If the Walmart allows overnight parking, we’ll make some popcorn to go with the movie and return the rental in the morning.
11. Google Translate
Meeting people is one of our favorite things about traveling and we have met people from all over the world. The Google Translate app makes it easier to communicate with each other when we don’t speak the same language.
When we’re traveling internationally to places like Tibet or Barcelona, we will download the languages spoken in the region so we can use the translation feature offline. The two language we always have downloaded are Chinese (simplified) and Spanish.
The camera feature is handy when looking at a menu in a foreign language, but the translation isn’t always accurate. For the most part, we can figure out what the dish is based on the English translation.
Campendium is a great app to find campgrounds near you. While it’s similar to the Allstay App mentioned above, the best part about this app is the user generated reviews. You can find useful details and helpful information from photos to cell service coverage to different GPS coordinates.
13. Harvest Hosts
For RVers who have a Harvest Hosts membership, the mobile app is the quickest way to locate hosts nearby, read reviews and access detailed information about each host in the network. There is no additional cost for the mobile app and is included with your membership.
Which apps do you use when traveling?