Once upon a time we traveled with paper maps, campground directory books, and tour guides. We were constantly shuffling papers and flipping pages. Smart Phone technology has made the kind of rambling travel style we love so much easier and has added richness to the discoveries that we can make along the journey. We use iPhones but nearly all these apps are available on the Android platform also.

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Navigation

It’s always helpful to know how we will get from here to there and what services are available along the way.

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Although there are other good options out there we have used Apple Maps, the native map app on iPhone, since it’s introduction. The route overview, satellite mode, and traffic are especially useful features. Here’s a great video on the newest features and also an article discussing the advantages/disadvantages of Apple vs Google Maps not to mention Apple’s commitment to privacy. Oh, yeah, and now we can use Apple Maps with our new Apple CarPlay. Available for iPhone.

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When our route is taking us through sparsely populated areas, we really appreciate being able to plan our fuel stops. Although it’s not fail safe, sometimes stations close for the season or go out of business, Gas Buddy is crowd sourced. Hence if you see a recently updated gas price, you can feel pretty confident you will get fuel there. Also it works with Maps giving you ability to check the satellite view so you get an idea ease of access with your trailer in tow. Available for iPhone and Android.

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Although we love traveling the back roads, we not infrequently find ourselves on the interstate. This is a great app to identify the closest rest area as well as the gas stations, and eateries at nearby exits. Available for iPhone and Android.

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Campgrounds

Where to stay, where to stay? Our trips are often long rambling affairs with little advance planning but we can do that with these amazing apps and websites available for on the fly or even for well ahead of time planning. (Yes, we are doing much more planning ahead as we travel in 2021.)

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This is our go-to app for finding a place to stay along our route. Everything from RV resorts to National Forest sites to Walmarts. We will say that once we find a promising sounding place we’ll check with the RV Life app for campground reviews and more information. It’s a paid app but worth every penny. Available for iPhone. Android users can get the same content from the website.

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This app requires a free membership but offers a comprehensive, easy to use, list of campgrounds. It doesn’t show Walmarts, Cracker Barrels, or other free overnight options though. It’s the app versions of campground reviews.com and offers reviews of each campground as well as connectivity information. With a paid membership you get RV Wizard trip planning but we have not opted for that.

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This one is a free app but it only works with a paid membership to Harvest Hosts. We’ve had some amazing adventures and lovely stays at HH locations throughout the country over the last few years. Available for iPhone and Android.

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This app is a great way to locate many federal and some state public campgrounds and is a great way to make reservations. It seems to be more user friendly than the website has been. Available for iPhone and Android.

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The two of us have been staying at KOA campgrounds for decades and have been VKR members since 2008. We appreciate a lot of aspects of KOA stays especially for overnight stays when we need to do laundry. One big advantage for the last few years has been to make same day reservations via the KOA App while we’re rolling down the road. Available for iPhone and Android.

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Adventures

Travel is all about adventure and we find these apps invaluable for helping us find those adventures.

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Since 2010 this has been our primary source for information about places to eat, things to do, and services we need. Some of our favorite searches are Museums, Diners, Factory Tours, Landmarks & Historical Buildings, Coffee, Oil Change Stations, and more. We created an account long ago and when we’ve had a great experience especially at an independent business we’ll leave a good review. Available for iPhone and Android.

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Oh, the places we’ve gone thanks to Roadside America! This is a great guide to the out of the ordinary sites in the US and Canada. The app costs $2.99 for one region. All Access is an additional $6.99 but is an incredible bargain considering the fun of discovering these offbeat places. They also have a Roadside Presidents app that we like. Available for iPhone but cuurently not for Android. However they do have a cool website.

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Hidden in plain sight. Geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt game that involves searching for a hidden container using GPS coordinates and information posted online. Here’s an introductory video and basic information. If you’re interested, spend some time with the beginner’s guide learn the etiquette and if possible, spend some time with someone familiar with the game. It has taken us to amazing places! The app is free and basic membership is free. We did upgrade to Premium for a richer experience. Available for iPhone and Android.

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This is an amazing guide to the history all around us. Not only does it give you the location of historic landmarks and museums but background and context, street view images, and information on walking tours. Available for iPhone and Android.

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Internet Connection

One of the challenges of life on the road is staying connected. Internet service varies widely from place to place. Although sometimes we’re glad to be away from the net for a while, often we want decent connectivity in order to post our latest blog and do research on the next adventure or campsite as well as talk with family and friends.

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This app is handy to check the speed of wifi networks that we encounter on the road especially useful for determining if it’s even worth bothering with the campground wifi. Available for iPhone and Android.

Coverage Map gives you map with information on the robustness of cell phone coverage as well as a speed test. It gathers data via crowdsourcing so each time you run a speed test you contribute to the store of information available. We find this invaluable. Available for iPhone and Android.