Best Multi-Stop Routing Apps for RV Travelers and Road Trip Planning

Best Multi-Stop Routing Apps for RV Travelers and Road Trip Planning

 

Traveling is a great pastime, especially when traveling by RV. No one uses paper directions anymore and the days of just winging it and hoping for the best are thankfully behind us. Technology has brought us a slew of apps designed specifically to coordinate multiple stops for gas stations, rest areas, camping spots and more.

Top Apps for Multi-Stop Routing


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Google Maps– Google Maps is by far the most popular app used by travelers. It informs you of traffic issues and gives estimated arrival times based on current traffic conditions. It will automatically reroute you if there is an increase in traffic, an accident, or other problematic road conditions. You can even use this app offline. A couple of things to keep in mind – the GPS requires a lot of battery power and there is no social sharing feature.

 


Image Credit: Ian Lamont / flickr

Waze– This multi-stop routing app is constantly updating to ensure the information is fresh. Based on traffic conditions, Waze will find the most efficient route. It will also inform you about accidents, construction, police, and road closures.

What sets Waze apart from other mapping apps is its social features. It allows you to:

  • Chat with other drivers.
  • Share your location.
  • Share your drive with others.
  • Send a beep beep to your friends.
  • Send a private message to other Wazers.
  • Carpool with other Wazers.
  • and more…

One pitfall of this app is the speeding alert obscures the speed limit icon for an extended period of time, so you can’t tell what your speed SHOULD be. Like the other GPS apps, it uses a lot of battery power.

Image Credit: @gletham GIS / flickr

Mapquest– has been around for years, and was originally a website that required users to print out directions. The app version offers multiple route options and allows you to use filters to set preferences. The app will alert you to slowdowns in traffic. In addition to mapping routes, this app shares gas prices and even has a function for making hotel and restaurant reservations. Some cons to using Mapquest;  the map size can be small, directions are reportedly less accurate than other apps and it cannot be used offline.

Image Credit: Harry Wood / flickr

Maps.Me– The main feature of this app is that it is entirely offline. This is perfect when you are in a spotty cell service area as you can still navigate to your destination.  Because everything on this app can be used offline, the app uses much less battery power. Not too many complaints from users, but there have been reports that the maps load slowly after being updated and businesses on the maps are not updated frequently.

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Inroute Route Planner– A benefit of this application is that you can design your trip based on weather, elevation, and road curviness. Simply drop pins where you are looking to stop, and the app compiles a route for you. You will be able to search along this route for gas stations, hotels, or restaurants. There are also special features for motorcyclists, RV’ers, and truckers. With the free version, you can specify up to 8 locations. Users have reported that it can be hard to get back on track if you go off route and that it may be difficult moving and changing pins.

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Apple Maps– a rival of Google Maps comes preloaded on every iPhone. It includes turn-by-turn directions and voice navigation. It plots the fastest way to get to your destination based on traffic, location, time of day, and your schedule. Another helpful feature is that it gives guidance on which lane you should be in. On your map, you will be able to see the current weather and air quality for your location. Some users have reported that exit directions and information about businesses are not always correct. There is also no option to use this map offline. The street view function does not have images for everywhere in the US.


Image Credit: Tumisu / Pixabay

Mapfactor Navigator–  is a free offline multiplatform GPS navigation app, with maps for over 200 countries.  There is also voice navigation to assist you in your journey. Keep in mind that even though the maps are up to date, the traffic information is not. Some users have stated the maps have some inaccuracies and can be slow to load or crash. To receive premium features, you will also have to pay a yearly or monthly fee.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Roadtrippers– collaborate with your friends and family to find exciting hot spots along your planned route, such as national parks, gas stations, restaurants, and more. This app is free to use but there is an upgrade needed to use all features.

                                                                   
Image Credit: Clker-Free-Vector-Images / Pixabay

Plotaroute– is an application that allows you to plan out routes for outdoor activities. It is the perfect app for designing your perfect walk, run, or bike ride. It allows you to check out scenic routes, so it is a little different than the typical road trip app.

                                                               
Image Credit: Clker-Free-Vector-Images / Pixabay

Scout GPS– Typical features are included in this app such as turn-by-turn navigation and real-time updates on traffic and speed. Scout prides itself in being a social destination app, as users can recommend restaurants to each other, notify their contacts of ETA, and can see in real-time when their friends will be arriving. One downfall of this app is concern over privacy because of location sharing.

When it comes to planning a trip, it is always best to have the best resources available. As much as we want everything to run smoothly, there are times that catastrophe happens, and the plan you had falls through. By downloading a few of these apps, you will have plenty of information in your arsenal to help you get to all your destinations, and find new ones along the way. Not only will you be able to get to your locations seamlessly, but you will be able to find exciting places to stay, eat, buy cheaper gas, and more.

Top 20 Questions to Ask Before Renting an RV for Your Vacation

Top 20 Questions to Ask Before Renting an RV for Your Vacation

Taking a vacation in a recreational vehicle can be one of the most enjoyable ways to see the country, allowing you to travel comfortably with (nearly) all of the amenities of home while creating unforgettable memories. But before you decide to rent an RV, there are many questions to ask. Driving such a large vehicle comes with many considerations and restrictions. There may also be unexpected fees and maintenance requirements. Here are some questions to keep in mind if an RV vacation is on your to-do list.
RV TravelingImage Credit: MemoryCatcher / Pixabay

HOW MUCH MILEAGE IS INCLUDED?

When it comes to budgeting for your RV vacation, one of the most important questions to ask before signing on the dotted rental-contract line is how much mileage is included with the rental fee you’re paying. With all the sightseeing you plan to be doing, unexpected extra mileage fees can add up quickly. It’s best to know what you’re getting into. “Absolutely ensure there’s a reasonable amount of mileage included with your base rate,” says travel writer Chez Chesak, board member of the Family Travel Association, who just returned from an RV vacation to some of America’s top national parks. “We had 1,000 miles included and used 849 of that. Additional miles would have been 45 cents per mile and would have certainly added up, if we weren’t careful.”

Savings Tip: RV listings through Outdoorsy specifically mention if there are any mileage charges associated with your rental, and many are unlimited.

Gas PumpImage Credit: planet_fox / Pixabay

ARE THERE SPECIFIC FUEL REQUIREMENTS?

Minimum fuel requirements can be yet another unexpected cost associated with RV rental, because some rental companies require at least mid-grade fuel, explained Chesak. “We spent about $340 just on gas, in part because we found out when picking the vehicle up that they require mid-grade fuel, 88+ octane,” said Chesak. Don’t let yourself be caught off-guard by this cost either, ask ahead of time if there are such requirements.

Driving RV
Image Credit: Glavo / Pixabay

HOW CAN I LEARN TO OPERATE ALL THE COMPONENTS OF THE MOTORHOME?

It goes without saying that operating an RV is far more complex than driving your car. There are tanks to be emptied, generators, awnings to be raised and lowered, and more. Some rental companies will provide an orientation or familiarization tour. If this is your first time renting, it can be worthwhile to find a company that does. In addition, there are countless online videos that provide information about operating an RV. YouTube is a great place to start.

RV Interior
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

ARE THERE CLEANING FEES?

One more consideration when it comes to the overall cost of your RV getaway: cleaning fees. While many rental companies will allow you to return the vehicle with a normal amount of dirt, some will charge you if cleaning is required after you return the rental. “We were pretty disappointed about this,” said Chesak. “You wouldn’t have such a fee with a hotel room or cabin upon the completion of your stay. But we managed to avoid it by really cleaning the vehicle before we turned it in.”

Portable GeneratorImage Credit: Quiet Hut / flickr

IS THERE A CHARGE FOR THE GENERATOR?

Generators are not a necessary item if you plan on staying at campsites that provide power hookups. However, those camping without hookups, will need a generator in order to use such things as appliances and air conditioning, said Russ Lovell, co-founder and managing partner at RVPlusYou.com, an online travel agency for RV rentals. Most RVs come with them. And often, RV rental companies charge a fee for their use (which is monitored by a meter on the unit). The cost is typically a few dollars per hour.

Savings Tip: For the avid RV traveler, investing in a quality generator might be a smart move. That way, you can avoid rental companies’ surcharges and always have one handy.

Image Credit: kalhh / Pixabay

WHAT IS THE LENGTH AND WIDTH OF THE RV?

The specific size of the RV you’re renting is important information to have handy. Why? For one, many campsites don’t allow RVs over a certain length, says Lovell. “RVs that are 25 feet or longer may not fit in some campsites,” explained Lovell. “And the campsites that accommodate larger RVs are usually booked up first.” Similarly, it is important to know width of the vehicle (including with slides out) because campsites can be tight. Being familiar with the length and width will allow you to book the appropriate size campsite.

Motor Home

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CAN I TOW A VEHICLE OR A BOAT?

Not all rental companies allow the RV to be used to tow another vehicle (for those who may be hoping to take their car along on the vacation, a boat or a trailer carrying bikes and other recreational equipment). So be sure to ask what the rules are. “Towing a vehicle comes with risks — the first being that not every vehicle can safely be towed,” explained Jody Halsted, creator of the site Camping Tips for Everyone, “And not all RVs have a large towing capacity, so if you tow a vehicle that is too heavy, you could blow out an engine. Towing also increases the likelihood of accident if renters have never towed a vehicle.”

Image Credit: flyerwerk / Pixabay

HOW MUCH IS THE RENTAL DEPOSIT?

Many prospective renters fail to consider the cost of the rental deposit when planning an RV vacation, says Halsted. Deposits typically range from $500 to $1000, on average. “Usually it’s equal to the RV owner’s insurance deductible,” Halsted explained. Be sure to ask how much it is, so that you have the full understanding of the true price tag of your RV getaway.

Dog CampingImage Credit: Andrew Bone / flickr

WHAT IS THE PET POLICY?

Traveling with an RV is one of the best ways to take a pet on vacation. It allows pets to be comfortable in their environment and still travel, says Amy Burkert the founder of GoPetFriendly.com. But before you pack up Rover or Fido to go on your trip, find out whether pets are even allowed in the RV and how much the pet deposit is, Burkert advises. You’ll also want to ask what the charges are if the RV is returned with pet hair.

Thinking ManImage Credit: Sammy-Sander / Pixabay

WHAT SORT OF INSURANCE COVERAGE IS REQUIRED?

Often when renting a car, you’re allowed to use your own automobile insurance to cover the vehicle. When renting an RV however, that may not necessarily be the case. Ask what sort of insurance coverage is required and whether you can use your own insurance. You may be required to buy additional insurance from the rental company. If that is the case, you’ll want to know how much it costs and what it covers. “The chances of using the insurance are high, so plan ahead,” says Lovell of RVPlusYou.com. “Most RV renters aren’t familiar with driving a big box. In addition, the vehicle is not familiar to the driver, nor is backing up and maneuvering in a tight campground with trees, rocks, and other hazards.” For all of these reasons and more, it’s wise to have rental insurance. Also, consider checking with your insurance agent to find out whether your auto policy even covers RV rental.

Happy CampersImage Credit: Ben_Frieden / Pixabay

IS THERE A LIMIT ON HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN RIDE IN THE RV?

Planning a family getaway in that RV? Make sure you know just how many people are allowed in the vehicle so that you can rent the appropriate size. For instance, compact motorhomes can handle a family of three, while a large motorhome can typically handle seven people. There are also intermediate-size motor homes that can hold about six people. If you want to have an enjoyable and safe vacation, get the right size vehicle to meet your needs.

campfire cooking

Image Credit: LUM3N / Pixabay

DOES THE MOTORHOME COME EQUIPPED WITH POTS AND PANS?

One nice feature of an RV is the ability to cook your own meals in them. However, be sure the vehicle has cooking equipment. Not all rental companies provide it. Some charge extra for kits that include basic necessities. At Cruise America, for instance, the Vehicle Provisioning Kit costs $100 per vehicle and includes such items as a can opener, broom, spatula, cooking spoon, cooking fork, coffee cups, plates, soup bowls, silverware, and more. The company also offers a Personal Kit, which costs $55 per person and provides a sleeping bag or comforter, pillow, pillowcase, flat sheet, bath towel, washcloth, and dish towel.

Two Medicine Camp StoreImage Credit: GlacierNPS / flickr

WHERE CAN I PURCHASE SUPPLIES FOR THE RV?

If it’s your first time driving and caring for an RV, it’s a good idea to ask the rental company where you can purchase items for the vehicle, such as propane, cooking equipment, and more. You’ll also want to know where you are allowed to dispose of the waste that accumulates in the vehicle’s holding tanks. If you can’t find a motorhome specialty store, keep in mind that even Walmart sells RV supplies these days.

Image By Marmelad, CC BY-SA 2.5

ARE WE ALLOWED TO DRIVE TO CANADA OR MEXICO?

While the possibilities may seem endless once you get behind the wheel of an RV and hit the open road, be sure to find out where you are truly allowed to take the vehicle. For instance, some rental companies prohibit taking their vehicles to Mexico altogether. And the policy on driving into Canada varies based on the rental contract and citizenship of the renter in some cases.

Drinking Water

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IS IT SAFE TO DRINK THE WATER FROM THE MOTORHOME TANK?

Cruise America recommends against drinking water from your RV’s tank. It can be difficult to know if the water in the RV tank is potable when you’re filling it at various locations. There are places to fill the water tank from a water supply known to contain clean drinking water, such as campgrounds and tested well-water sources, but it may be best to use bottled water. Getting sick from drinking contaminated water can very quickly ruin a vacation. At the very least, ask the company you are renting from about this issue.

Damaged Travel Trailer

Image Credit: Tony Webster, CC BY 2.0

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGE TO THE VEHICLE?

When considering renting an RV, read the proposed contract carefully and understand its terms and conditions. In some cases, the renter is solely responsible for the condition for the RV, including the interior and exterior, and will be held liable for any damage that cannot be proven to have existed prior to the rental period. Know exactly what you are getting into.

RV Breakdown

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WHAT HAPPENS IF THE RV BREAKS DOWN?

Understanding who to call in the event of an emergency with the RV is critical ground to cover before renting. Some rental companies provide around-the-clock travelers assistance to help get you back on the road. Still, other rental companies, such as Outdoorsy, will assist you with a breakdown even if you did not opt for this type of coverage, allowing you to request a “pay-as-you-go” service at a higher premium if you contact them at the time of a breakdown.

Filling Motor Oil

Image Credit: Santeri Viinamäki / Wikimedia Commons

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ROUTINE MAINTENANCE?

Aside from all-out breakdowns and damage to the vehicle, routine maintenance is another topic to cover. Often, the renter is responsible for such things as checking the oil and coolant levels, and reporting mechanical failures. In addition, you could be held responsible for mechanical damage tied to negligence while renting the vehicle.

adaptive driving controlImage Credit: ebay

CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE RENTERS WITH DISABILITIES?

It is worth asking about the sort of accommodations that can be made to assist those with disabilities who are interested in renting a motorhome. While the options may be limited given an RV’s design, Cruise America offers controls that enable drivers to accelerate or brake using a hand-controlled device.

Man Eating Popcorn

Image Credit: Sammy-Sander / Pixabay

IS THERE A LATE-RETURN FEE?

Like any other vehicle rental, there are often fees for not returning a motorhome on time or by the deadline specified in the contract. Some rental companies provide a short grace period for being late and then begin charging by the hour after that. They may also charge an administrative fee on top of the hourly rental rate when the vehicle is past due. In addition, if your late return impacts or disrupts another individual’s rental of that same vehicle, expect the fees to be even higher in some cases.

Featured Image Credit: MemoryCatcher / Pixabay

Meier’s Creek Brewing Company – a Harvest Host Review

Meier’s Creek Brewing Company – a Harvest Host Review

It was bound to happen – Meier’s Creek Brewing Company was the first Harvest Host that failed to exceed my expectations. Don’t get me wrong – the experience was acceptable, but I wouldn’t go back. There are just too many options that are BETTER.

The facility itself is great. Modern buildings with an industrial feel – the perfect ambiance for a microbrewery. Outside was replete with amenities ranging from cornhole to disc golf on a well-manicured lawn. It is family & pet friendly with kids & dogs everywhere., sure to bring a smile to your face.

Getting down to business – “good beer” is highly subjective. I generally live by the credo there is no such thing as a bad beer, just some are better than others. After trying a flight of beers ranging from mild to sour to stout, I was unable to find a beer that tasted good to me. Cindy also ordered a flight that contained a couple of seltzers. She was able to find a winner there. So… I ordered a diet Coke & she ordered a seltzer, then we wandered outside to find a seat & enjoy one another’s company.

Despite having a lot of green space, the single harvest host spot was located in the corner of the parking lot in a section striped off for no parking. If you’re into the cracker barrel parking lot experience, this is a good fit. That said, I know they could do better.

Resources

  1. Meier’s Creek Brewing Company’s official website (https://www.meierscreekbrewing.com/): Discover more about Meier’s Creek Brewing Company, their beer offerings, events, and location, directly from the source.
  2. Harvest Hosts official website (https://www.harvesthosts.com/): Learn about the Harvest Hosts program, which connects RVers with unique overnight stays at various locations, including wineries, breweries, and farms.
  3. Cazenovia Lake Nature Preserve website (https://villageofcazenovia.com/parks-and-recreation/): Explore the Cazenovia Lake Nature Preserve and other recreational activities in the area, such as parks, trails, and sports facilities.
  4. Lorenzo State Historic Site’s official website (https://parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/lorenzo/details.aspx): Find information on the Lorenzo State Historic Site, a beautiful 19th-century mansion offering tours, events, and educational programs in Cazenovia.
  5. Cazenovia Public Library’s official website (https://www.cazenoviapubliclibrary.org/): Check out the Cazenovia Public Library’s website for information about programs, events, and resources available to residents and visitors.

Some local things to do

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Cazenovia:

  1. Visit the Cazenovia Lake Nature Preserve, a beautiful nature reserve that offers hiking trails, birdwatching, and picnicking.
  2. Explore the Cazenovia College Arboretum, a 100-acre botanical garden that features a variety of trees, shrubs, and flowers.
  3. Visit the Lorenzo State Historic Site, a beautiful 19th-century mansion that offers tours, events, and educational programs.
  4. Shop and dine in downtown Cazenovia, where you will find a variety of unique boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.
  5. Play a round of golf at the Cazenovia Country Club, a picturesque 18-hole golf course that offers a challenging layout and beautiful views.
  6. Visit the Cazenovia Public Library, which offers a variety of programs, events, and resources for residents and visitors.
  7. Attend an event at the Cazenovia College Athletic Field, which hosts a variety of sports and community events throughout the year.

Conclusion

Cazenovia, NY is a quaint and delightful town that boasts a wide array of activities and attractions for visitors to indulge in. With its picturesque landscapes, rich history, and welcoming community, Cazenovia provides an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking both relaxation and adventure.

Nestled in the heart of Central New York, Cazenovia offers a serene backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts who can explore the Cazenovia Lake Nature Preserve, the Cazenovia College Arboretum, and various parks and trails. History buffs will appreciate the town’s well-preserved architecture and sites like the Lorenzo State Historic Site, which provides a glimpse into 19th-century life.

The vibrant downtown area features unique boutiques, art galleries, and a diverse range of dining options that cater to different tastes, creating an enjoyable atmosphere for strolling and socializing. Additionally, the Cazenovia Public Library and Cazenovia College Athletic Field serve as hubs for community events and educational programs, fostering a sense of unity among residents and visitors alike.

Whether you’re a fan of craft beer, nature, history, or shopping, Cazenovia, NY has something to offer everyone. Its charm and variety of attractions make it a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic small-town experience in the beautiful Central New York region.