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Do you ever look back and marvel how we survived without our cell phones and apps? You know, back in the days when we actually TALKED to each other? I know I certainly do.
And just think about RVers way back when in the Dark Ages… how did they do it?! From navigating road trips to figuring out where gas stations were to troubleshooting problems on the road, things were wayyyy different 30 years ago and beyond.
Boy am I glad smart phones were an established “thing” before James and I took up RVing. I’d be lost without mine. Probably lost somewhere in Nebraska.
Last week, I shared our list of favorite RV apps for figuring out where to stay. Thanks for all your comments and tips! And if you missed that list, see it HERE.
Since I’ve covered “Where To Stay” apps, I’m moving on to useful road trip apps. I use so many apps I’ve had to bust it up into multiple posts, and even this won’t be the last! I’ve still got my list of Fun RV apps and of course there’s my Fitness apps. I know, you’re all giddy with anticipation. Stay tuned for those!
And ready or not! Here we go with the Useful List; don’t forget to leave comments and your own app suggestions below!!!
FitRV’s List of Useful RV-Life Apps
In no particular order (…after all you’ve got Stef here not James).
iExit: FREE (iOS and Android)
Need to make a pitstop, withdraw some cash from an ATM, or find out the gas prices at nearby gas stations? iExit has your back. This insanely handy app helps you plan your roadtrip stops, displaying pictographs of businesses and amenities in upcoming interstate exits. It lets you know in real time how far it is to the next exit and/or rest area, and then updates as you roll by, how cool is that?! You can search for specific businesses (STARBUCKS!!!!) and even find amenities like Wi-Fi. The app draws its gas price information from the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), so the prices are up to date. If you’re driving cross-country, I highly recommend trying out this app. It’s like having your own personal navigator!
CoverageMap by Root Metrics: FREE (iOS and Android)
There are a few different map apps for seeing the general cell signal strength anywhere you may be traveling, and this is one of them. If staying connected is important for you as it is for us, an app like this is super-useful. We’ve tried a few different similar apps and while none of them seem to be 100% accurate, this one is free. One thing I especially like on this app is that when you zoom in on the map and click on a specific area, you’re able to see dB ratings. It’s a nice level of detail and a more accurate way to see cell strength as opposed to subjective bars or color-coded map areas. You can also do speed tests and check your upload/download strength; which is handy info to have when working from the road.
RV Dumps by AllStays: $2.99 (iOS only)
Now, before you rush off and download this app, the same data is part of Allstays’ “Camp and RV” app, which has a dump filter on it and I know many of you already have that app and left comments on my “apps for finding camping spots” list about how much you like it. Camp and RV is a $10 app, and this one’s $3. We’ll probably eventually get around to purchasing Camp and RV ourselves, but since you’ve all seen how many campsite-finding apps we already use from my LAST app article, you know we’re pretty covered there. For now, we’re happy enough with the RV Dumps app itself and the extra detail and filter options it gives. You can filter by the type of dump, so you can weed out “hookups” at campsites and show stand-alone stations when you’re just passing through. We especially appreciate how they try to keep it updated, but we have had experiences ourselves with dumps being listed that were not available, so it’s not perfect.
Truma: FREE (iOS and Android)
While most of the app isn’t really relevant for those of us in North America YET, there’s a great leveling tool within the app, handy for RVers without automatic levelers. After you put in the axis distance and track width of your rig (the app explains that for you), you set your phone down on the RV floor, and a little RV floorplan visual appears with a beach ball rolling around representing level. Drive up on your blocks and check the visual again, with the goal being to get the beach ball dead center. And for those of you with Truma appliances in your rigs, once those iNet boxes get functional over here in North America, the remote control feature of this app is going to be AWESOME!
TollGuru Trip Toll Calculator: FREE (iOS and Android)
The TollGuru calculator determines how much your road trip will cost in fuel consumption and tolls (if there are any). Simply set your starting point and destination, and the app will figure out the fastest or cheapest route and show you the applicable tolls. You can set your vehicle’s MPG and even set fuel prices to get more accurate cost estimates. Especially handy is that it identifies what type of payments are accepted at each of the tolls you’ll encounter. Years ago we hit a toll that was cash only and didn’t have any cash, whoops! With this app, that’ll never happen again.
MyRadar NOAA Weather Radar: FREE (iOS and Android)
You know when you’re road tripping along and you see a big storm cloud off in the distance and you think, “hmmm, I wonder what we’re driving into up there?” MyRadar is the app I open to find out. I like that right when I open the app, an animated radar map pops up showing my location and any precipitation or weather alerts around me. I can easily scroll around the map, following our driving route, and see what weather we’re heading into. And if I want more detailed information on wherever I’ve moved the map to, I can swipe down and get comprehensive weather information for that particular area. MyRadar has many “layer” options so you can totally customize what you see on the map. I especially like that it has a layer for current wildfires. You can click on the wildfire for more detailed information on it. Since we live and mostly camp out in the dry west, this is a layer I pay close attention to.
Glympse: FREE (iOS and Android)
Glympse is an awesome app that lets you share your real-time location with others. Sure there are other apps popular for sharing your GPS location, but the beauty of Glympse is that it never gets permanently posted. When you send a “glympse” of your location to a friend, they receive a URL link to a map of your current position and it automatically expires after the length of time you choose, along the lines of Snapchat. There are so many ways using Glympse becomes useful! If I’m trying to find James, I can make him send me a Glympse. If I’m out jogging, he can follow my route and watch my speed (and be amazed). If we’re meeting up with other RVers, we can all share “glympses” of our drives and follow each others’ progress. Glympse is an all-around excellent way to keep track of comings and goings of the people in your life, and is especially great for safety. As RVers we’re commonly in unknown territory and that makes us safety-vulnerable. Giving a “glympse” to loved ones ensures someone’s always keeping tabs on your whereabouts.
Flush Toilet Finder: FREE (iOS and Android)
Okay now, I realize we’re all RVers and many of us GOT our rigs so we didn’t have to use public restrooms. But! There are those times when your tanks are full or so near to full you’re conserving. Or! There are those times when you’re out exploring and you’re a long ways from the RV. THAT’S when this app comes in handy. This app uses your location sensors and shows you nearby toilets on a map, with a little extra information such as if the toilet requires a key or is handicap accessible. One neat feature is that you can search without requiring an internet connection. The app can integrate with Google Maps to provide directions to whichever toilet you choose. Also, speaking from experience here, if you’re out jogging in unknown territory and nature calls, this app suddenly becomes priceless.
White Noise Lite: FREE (iOS and Android)
So I’m pretty sure we all agree the RV lifestyle is awesome. We get be adventurous, unleash our inner free-spirits, and see amazing things around the country. BUT! There are times when we find ourselves overnighting in less than ideal circumstances. Like when you’re sleeping at a Flying J and find yourself parked in the middle of a huge drug bust with cops using your rig as a shield (yep, it happened). Or how about when Cousin Eddie and his friends set up their suspiciously leaking trailer right next door and proceed to have drunken ATV races around their bonfire all. night. long. (Yep that happened too.) Beyond giving up and rolling out, all you can do is survive the night. That’s when you’re REALLY going to love this app. White Noise Lite is a simple app that loops your choice of around 40 different sounds. I’ve got 3 personal favorites: airplane, water running, and brown noise, depending on my mood. So when things get noisy outside your RV door, using this app will mask the noise; allowing you to hold on to your sanity and get a little sleep so you can get out of there at first light. That’s one of the great things about RVing! If you don’t like where you are, no problem… just bust out one of your campsite-finder apps and hit the road!