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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The web has made it easier than ever to learn about RVing, travel, and road-tripping. Whether you’re getting started or have been hitting the road for decades, an old dog can always learn neat tricks. Blogs, videos, social media, and more give you a plethora of information on RVing at your fingertips. When it comes to learning, following others’ examples and seeing what they did to overcome obstacles can be more beneficial than you realize.
Here are five RV blogs to follow and learn more about RVing, destinations, customizing your rig, and more. Ready to become an even better RVer? Let’s get started.
5 of the Best RV Blogs to Follow
Love Your RV
The Love Your RV blog comes to us from a Canadian couple who sold their brick and mortar home, buy a 5th wheel RV, and go traveling across North America. I chose this blog due to the variety of content. The Love Your RV blog is full of travel reports, RV product reviews, tips, and tricks, and plenty more.
The author’s background as an electronic technician shows on the blog as he offers tons of significant modifications that can be used by the reader to improve their RV. With three years and 50,000 miles strong, this helpful blog is a great resource for many RVers.
Everything About RVing
Everything About RVing is run by Al Wiener and provides about everything you’d ever want to know about RVing online. From articles on where to go RVing to how to fix up your ride, there’s something for every level RVer here. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of what RVing is and can be on and off the road, Everything About RVing is a must-read blog. Not finding what you need to know on the site?
Alan takes questions, too! Consider submitting your question and see if it gets answered on the website and make sure to watch his Twitter feed because he’s sharing new articles, tips, and tricks on social media.
The unique blog Technomadia is geared towards the younger X, Y, and Millennial generations that are rivaling the baby boomers on the road. The couple running the blog met on a Toyota Prius forum fell in love and have been on the road ever since in their converted bus. This blog focuses on current issues not addressed by many other full-time RVers such as sustainability, minimal impact travel, and the trials of tribulations of working in the tech sector while on the road.
Technomadia’s website is the expert resource on staying connected to the web and technology no matter where they are, and they try to help other RVers out with their posts on solar panels, and lithium-ion batteries and have even authored The Mobile Internet Handbook. The Technomadia blog also provides several links to other younger generation full-timer blogs.
Wheeling It is brought to us by another couple that quit their monotonous jobs and hit the road full-time with their two cats and Great Dane in tow. This blog stands out because it addresses some of the many critical issues for full-time RVers that some travel blogs gloss over, such as getting health care, pet care, and working.
The blog is also mixed with an updated tips and tricks section, a modification section, and a dense section of travel stories browsed by individual states. The vast amounts of content are organized on this blog, making it a formidable resource for those looking for everything from recipes to information on finding a veterinarian.
Frugal RV Travel
The Frugal RV Travel blog is a guide on how to save money while RVing, full-time or not. The blog discusses boondocking in depth. Boondocking is the practice of RV camping without any utility hookups, often to save money by staying at free campsites.
This blog also discusses budgets, purchasing an RV, doing repairs on the road, and many other varieties of topics that concentrate on maximizing your dollar and adventure. The blog also includes links to buy extensive and detailed boondocking guides specializing in RVing destinations like California and Arizona.
More Blogging Resources for RVers
Here are a few more blogs to check out to learn more about RVing that we love:
Here’s a best RV blog list that is curated from thousands of blogs on the web and ranked by traffic, social media followers, domain authority & freshness.
When learning the ins and outs of RVing, or road tripping in general, relying on others’ expertise and experience is the way to go. The web makes it easier than ever to see what others are up to. Check out the above blogs for guidance before your next adventure and see how to get the most out of your trip no matter the destination.
Whether you are renting an RV for a road trip or purchasing your own vehicle you will need to check these items off your checklist to make your travels stress free. This is the ultimate checklist for an RV engine, Items needed inside the motorhome, products you need to ensure your safety and security while you’re on the road, camping extras and things to help with RV dumping
For The Engine
Keeping your motorhomes engine well maintained is crucial. There are some simple things you can do to prolong your RV’s life and avoid having it break down on your travels.
If you are buying your own RV for your road trip, we strongly recommend getting a pre-purchase inspection done by a trusted mechanic. This can save you a lot of headaches down the road.
Some helpful items you can keep in your RV that will help with any engine needs:
Oil – Find the correct type of Oil that your motorhome takes and then buy a few gallons to make sure you’re covered when you hit the road. It’s a good idea to check oil and water levels every time you head off on a big drive. You will probably need 5W-20 or 15W-40 depending on your motorhome. Read the owner’s manual before putting any in. You want to get an oil change every 5000-6000 miles to keep your engine healthy.
Empty Gas Can – These come in super handy when you get a little too cocky on how many miles per gallon your RV can get. It’s not easy to push an RV to a gas station if it runs out of fuel. So keep an empty gas can in the coach in case you do run out. We recommend a 5 or 10 gallon. 1 gallon might not get you to the gas station.
RV Battery Starter – You don’t want to be stranded, off-grid and not have any way of getting your camper jump-started. Cables work, but you need another car to run for 20 minutes or so to charge the battery from dead. Get a battery starter pack so you can jumpstart yourself from anywhere.
Inside the Motorhome
Life inside the motorhome can get crammed and messy if you don’t keep on top of the mess. It can make it an unpleasant place to live if it’s dirty and starts to smell. These are items that made life a little easier inside the rig.
Broom/Mop – With people coming in and out of the motorhome so often, RV floors can quickly get dusty, dirty or sandy. Having a broom or mop on board will allow you to have sparkling clean floors in minutes.
Brush and Shovel – These are perfect for tidying up any breaks or spills in the motorhome. If you secure your items properly you can help avoid these. Scroll down to Secure the Interior for more on this.
Handy Wipes – these are great for cleaning any surface and you don’t necessarily need running water to help clean everything, so it’s perfect for an RV.
Camping Lantern– Most lanterns charge while you drive, or you can get solar ones. These are perfect if you are going off-grid and can’t plug your RV into a power source. Or if you just want to limit your camper’s battery or generator use.
Playing Cards or Board Games – Great way to fill in your downtime in the Camper. The Struggle for Catan was our personal favorite.
Portable Battery Bank– You can charge these in your RV and then plug your phone or laptop in when the battery runs low. It’s perfect for when you’re going off-grid or hiking for a few days and still want to take pictures or use your devices.
Portable Wireless Router – for connecting to the internet when you go off the grid. Perfect if you plan on working online while you travel.
There are lots of things that can go wrong on an RV Road Trip, but by being organized, and preparing properly before setting off, you can help avoid these.
Surge Protector – If you plan on connecting to an outside power source on your travel then you need one of these. All it takes is a power spike to completely fry your RV electrics and cost you thousands in repairs. A surge protector can be an expensive investment but look at it as insurance, a $200 outlay could save you your RV or at least thousands of dollars.
Travel First Aid Kit– These come in really handy sometimes, you never know what you might need. Fill it with band-aids, antiseptic creams, and painkillers/medication.
Insect Repellent and Sunblock
RV Fire Extinguisher – Self Explanatory. A fire could rip through an RV in no time so it is crucial to have a small fire extinguisher on hand. Especially with all the cooking inside that is done in an RV.
A Door Lock – Doors to Motorhomes aren’t very secure, especially older ones. We learned this the hard way, as one night when we had it parked on the street the door into the motorhome was broken into and kicked in. An RV secure door lock could easily have prevented this.
Secure the Interior
If you haven’t done much driving in an RV, then you need to know how important it is to secure the interior before hitting the road. Otherwise, you will hear a lot of banging and crashing as you start driving and going around corners. If you don’t secure cupboards, clear counters and benches and lock the fridge or freezer, then you will be dealing with a big mess when you stop driving.
Waffle Grip Mats are a great way to prevent this. You buy these in big rolls and then cut them to fit your cupboards. This creates friction and will protect your items from getting thrown around the motorhome as you drive.
Adjustable Fridge Bars are perfect to stop things flying out of your fridge or freezer when you’re on the road. On our road trip, our fridge door flew open when we went round a corner and a full grocery shop ended up on the floor, not a fun clean up.
Off-Grid Camping Extras
Camping Chairsand Table – Great for RV Road Trips in good weather, gives you a lot more space for preparing and eating meals (there’s not a lot of room in an RV kitchen…) and a nice outside area to hang out. Get ones you can easily fold down and put in the storage under your camper. Tip: Get Low-Quality ones that work great, for $5 at Walmart.
Tent – If you like to get off-road and go further into nature, you will want to bring a tent with you. They also work as extra sleeping room if you haven’t got enough beds in the camper. Get one that doesn’t take up too much storage room.
Hammock – When you’ve parked the RV up, it’s nice to kick back in a hammock and read a book in the sun. These are a great investment if you have crammed sleeping areas in your Motorhome. Hook it up between a tree and your RV.
Grill – A camping grill can be easily be kept in the storage underneath the RV and they are an awesome way to extend your living area and cook outside. We used ours a lot on our West Coast Road Trip as it was almost always sunny outside.
Chilly Bin or Cooler – If you need extra fridge space or just somewhere to keep your beer or wine chilled, then keep a chilly bin in your RV. (This one holds up to 36 cans).
Portable Insect Repeller – When you’re out in the wilderness and have a fire going or lights on in your motorhome, you will get hounded by mosquitos. Keep bugs out of your campsite by putting one of these just outside your RV.
Leveling Blocks – Some RVs have inbuilt leveling blocks to make sure you have a flat sleep, even if you’re parked on a hill. We didn’t have inbuilt leveling blocks and didn’t buy portable ones, and there were a lot of nights parked on a hill or a serious lean. These could’ve stopped us rolling on top of each other in our sleep.
RV Solar Panel Kit – If you want to reduce your energy usage while on the road and want to have a renewable power source on your RV. Then invest in an RV Solar Panel Kit. As long as there is sun, you will have power inside the motorhome. You can still plug into power sources to top up your batteries levels even if there is no sun.