The 5 Best RV Planning Apps for 2019
If you’re looking forward to some time on the open road in your RV, preparation can be key. Once upon a time that meant paper maps. Then, with the advent of greater internet resources, maybe it meant a smartphone and Google Maps. Now, though, there are hundreds if not even thousands of apps that a good RVer can use to help plan their trips and troubleshoot as needed.
Check out this list of five of our favorites—and use them to make your trips simpler, easier, and less prone to hassles or delays of any sort!
App 1: RV Trip Wizard
Let’s start with our favorite: RV Trip Wizard.
Not only is RV Trip Wizard a great way to save money—as it tracks the money you’ll spend in advance based on how you tailor your usage of the app and its extensive database of fuel, campground, and other prices around the country—it’s also incredibly customizable. Tailor your usage to match your preferences and you’ll see only the information you want, whether that’s free camping or full-service resorts. Because RV Trip Wizard includes all of the campgrounds covered by most of the other apps (such as Good Sam or Passport America), you don’t need multiple apps to browse your options when deciding where to stay. Similarly, you can tailor your preferences to take advantage of bigger discounts; if you have both Passport America and Escapees RV Club memberships, for instance, you can prioritize searching for the former before the latter if you so desire, as the former offers bigger discounts.
Additionally, RV Trip Wizard’s drag-and-drop interface makes it incredibly easy to visualize (think of moving checkpoints in Google Maps, for instance), and it easily integrates across a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more, as well as with your GPS unit. And if you want paper documentation, you can do that, too; RV Trip Wizard allows you to print trip summaries including such information as contacts information for your planned stops, mileage between stops, and even cost estimates for each leg of your trip.
What really makes RV Trip Wizard stand out, however, is all the extras it offers, often combining the best features of other apps. For instance, its expansive directory includes RV-friendly parking lots (such as casinos and Walmarts), more than 16,000 golf courses, more than 12,000 bike trails, and more than 8,000 pet hospitals.
App 2: Good Sam Trip Planner
A similarly incredible RV trip-planning app is Good Sam’s Trip Planner. While Good Sam doesn’t offer as many camping locations in its database, it does offer a quality guarantee; RV campgrounds have to pass a test in order to even be considered for inclusion in the database. Additionally, membership in the Good Sam Club offers perks RV Trip Wizard cannot, including savings or discounts at Camping World, Overton’s, Gander Outdoors, Good Sam Parks, and Pilot Flying J locations—all of roughly the same (or even a little less) annual cost as RV Trip Wizard.
Like RV Trip Wizard, you can add points of interest and camping destinations to your route easily with Good Sam’s Trip Planner, as well as calculate estimates of fuel costs and travel time, as well as use filters to see low clearance areas, tunnels, or avoid tolls.
So don’t think of the fact that a membership is required for the Good Sam Trip Planner as negative. Instead, think of all of the extras that membership includes in addition to the Trip Planner itself, such as those aforementioned fuel discounts (5 cents per gallon on gas and 8 cents per gallon on diesel) at Pilot Flying J’s, 10% off at Camping World, and more. For an app nearly as good as RV Trip Wizard, and at a slightly lower cost, the extras may be what push you toward Good Sam’s Trip Planner instead.
App 3: RV Park reviews / RV Life
If you’re not looking for a subscription-necessary service, then consider RV Park Reviews (available in app form as part of RV Life). Not only is RV Park Reviews the oldest, largest, and likely most comprehensive resource for RV parking and campground reviews, it’s website is incredibly mobile-friendly and the app version bundled with RV Life is incredibly feature-laden, with filters for finding the setting you want to options as detailed as hot tub temperatures.
Built on the backs of other RVers, too, you can be assured of the honesty of reviews built in to the site; no one is paid for their reviews, and the bulk are written by everyday travelers just like you; all told, more than 17,000 campgrounds average more than 20 reviews each (nearly 350,000 total reviews), so there’s certainly a wealth of experience and data you can use to your advantage as you make your own travel plans.
One benefit RV Park Reviews and RV Life can offer above and beyond most other travel apps? The ability to use their database offline. With a subscription to RV Life, you can get access to the full database even when offline, as well as download offline maps and turn-by-turn directions.
The RV Life app is also personalized and location aware so you grab exactly the offline data you need before you’ll need it, whether that’s just one state or several. Every day thousands of RVers post their opinions about campgrounds throughout North America. Don’t head anywhere without checking out their reviews first.
App 4: AllStays
Like RV Park Reviews and RV Life, AllStays has both free and paid versions. In addition to the vast repository of information available on the mobile-friendly site, AllStays also offers the following apps:
- AllStays Camp & RV. With over 60,000 campgrounds and points of interest, the base AllStays app is in and of itself pretty incredible, including a wide range of free camping options as well as the standard camping information and multiple filter layers.
- AllStays Truck & Travel. The longest-running truck app, the Truck & Travel app offers tons of exclusive parking areas perfect for when you’re not looking to camp but just need somewhere to sleep for a night or two, full of tips that are perfect not just for semi-truck drivers, but also RVers.
- AllStays Overnight Parking WalMart. Not only does this app offer a full directory of Walmarts across the country (where you can generally stay overnight at least one night for free), but also offers up other parking lots where you may be able to spend the night, in addition to other’s reports and reviews so you can determine in advance whether it might be a good sleep spot for you.
- AllStays Hotels By Chain. For those nights when you just need to sleep somewhere other than in your RV, this app helps you find the hotel of your preference, in addition to offering a wide range of reviews so you can book with confidence.
- AllStays Camp and Military RV. Includes 200 military camps for those who have served.
- AllStays Rest Stops Plus. When you need to know where the closest rest stops are, this is a great app. In addition to listing amenities and services at each rest stop, it also includes hours, what side of the road to expect the rest stop on, and more.
- AllStays RV Dumps.When you need to find a dump station, you can’t just wait until you stumble into one. And with this app, it’s easy to find the dump station you need.
App 5: WiFi Mapper
If you’ve traveled much previously, you know the challenges of trying to find wifi on the road. Especially if you need good wifi. With WiFi Mapper, however, that challenge is no more.
The world’s largest wifi database (including more than 2 million recommended free hotspots and nearly 500 million networks represented in total), WiFi Mapper does more than just tell you where internet access may be available. In fact, what sets it apart isn’t just the breadth of the project, but also the scope; in addition to detailing where wifi may be available, WiFi Mapper also details what kind of venue the location is, how reliable the service is, and oftentimes, even rates the quality of the coffee (at coffee shops).
Additionally, as the data set from which the app works is user-driven, your use of the app helps it continually improve; the OpenSignal team behind WiFi Mapper is now making daily updates to the network database based on user’s feedback, so the accuracy is continually improving.
So the next time you need to check in at work while on the road, look no farther. WiFi Mapper has you covered.