These mobile apps make RV road trips easier and more economical
RV tripping is the ultimate American road trip. With your bed behind the driver’s seat and the stars as your roof, the open road beckons. But now it’s so much easier than before to keep traveling without stopping to research or ask for advice. These apps will make your RV road trip easy, economical, and fun.
You’ve made a list, and you’ve checked it twice. You know what you need—or do you? RV Checklist helps you make customized trip planning lists for each trip. The app also offers standard lists for typical RV tasks, like buying an RV, annual maintenance, winterization, site arrival or departure, first-aid kit needs, and more. From kitchen and sporting goods items to reminders to check vehicle registration and roadside assistance, this list app is invaluable.
This free app is the gold standard for finding a place to park your RV. From truck stops, RV parks, rest areas, and campgrounds to Walmarts, Cabellas, Cracker Barrels, and Camping Worlds, this app includes parking information for the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
RV Parks & Campgrounds
Including private parks, public parks, U.S. Military campgrounds, superstores, and club stores, this free app gives options galore for parking your RV. Each stop lists the amenities, including water, electric, sewer, Wi-Fi, pool, pet accommodations, and more, along with the address and current distance from where you are plus ratings by other RV’ers. Each listing also has a button for calling the location, searching for the listing online, or navigating to the location. Dump stations and rest areas are clearly marked, and low-clearance advisories are given. The simple layout makes it easy to view each listing clearly.
Though AllStays Camp and RV provides a similar function to RV Parky and RV Parks & Campgrounds, its over 70 advanced filters allow you to look for exactly what you want for a stay. Use the filter on the map to view only exactly what you need in a campground. One of the best assets to AllStays is its ability to work offline, whether you have internet or cell access or not. For military campgrounds, check out AllStays Camp and RV Military, and for specific Walmart reviews, check out Allstays’ app Overnight Parking Walmart.
This super-helpful app connects you directly to government-owned sites to help you find out in real time what’s available, and promptly reserve campgrounds. Available dates are prominently listed on each campground, and amazingly, you can slide the bar to the length of space that you need for your vehicle, down to the exact number of feet. Pick your site number, book online, and you’re ready to bed down for the evening.
If your RV dollar isn’t stretching as far as you’d like it to, FreeCampsites is helpful, but Boondocking is the golden ticket to quickly finding options for free rural camping on your phone. Crowdsourced by users, not every site has reviews and useful information, but some give detailed info. At one site near Yosemite, a reviewer was happy to point out that her 25-foot RV could easily off-road onto an asphalt road, driving onto an old forest service road where the user parked twice overnight to sleep with no issues. Filters allow you to choose your desired level of elevation, whether below 1,000 feet or say, between 4,000 and 5,000 feet, and you can easily drop a pin to remember spots or recommend them for others. You can import GPX files from iTunes or iCloud, and switch your view to satellite or terrain. For the RV off-roader or budgeter, this can be a very useful app depending upon the reviews.
Gas Buddy is useful for any vehicle, but when your vehicle weighs tens of thousands of pounds, you want to get the best fuel prices possible. Wise RV’ers skip high gas-tax states like California and Washington whenever possible by checking gas prices just across the border. Even being able to see that a gas station a few miles from an interstate exit is $0.15 cheaper can make the haul worth it, especially if you carry an extra gas tank in your RV.
This handy app is only for U.S. interstates, where it helps you pick where you should stop, according to what’s available at each exit. iExit will even tell you what side of the exit, left or right, an amenity is on. This app will give you great food options, from fast food chains to small indie restaurants. When you click on a restaurant, the app lets you read reviews on Yelp, get directions, or call the restaurant to see if they have RV parking. iExit also gives you hotel, restroom, and fuel options, along with prices.
Think you’ve struggled with the gusts that churn the windmills flanking I-10 on your way to Palm Springs? You haven’t felt wind until you’re in a 13-foot-tall RV trying to fight monsoon-like gales. Driving an RV in high wind conditions can be downright dangerous, and requires caution and experience to prevent tipping and vehicle damage. That’s why every RV’er needs Windy, the wind forecast app originally made for kitesurfing and other outdoor activities. Not only does it give wind forecasts and weather reports from over 30,000 weather stations, but Windy also connects you to talk to locals and their reviews. Compare the wind now with the wind in a couple hours or a couple days to see if you should wait out the gusts for your drive.
AllTrails might seem like it’s just for hikers, but in reality, RVing folks find it useful to read about a road that they’ll need to drive on in order to get into camp. Not all access roads are made to accommodate the big vehicles, and AllTrails shows elevation and topography. The app also helps you prepare for the hikes and activities you’ll do near RV camps.