For those who love to get out on the open road for long journeys, it certainly pays to be prepared. Having the right app on your smartphone can help you avoid getting stuck, save you lots of time and money, and can even save your life. Here are a few of the most common and useful apps for those who love long journeys, whether you know where you’re headed, or are simply going where the wind takes you.
Coverage? is an app that allows you to plan your travel according to which areas may or may not have cell phone coverage. Using detailed maps, it allows you to choose areas specific to your carrier, and it clarifies whether you are in a 2G, 3G, or 4G area. Coverage? stores these maps on your phone’s hard drive, which is important if you may be driving from one area without coverage to another. We put it #1 on our list, because you may require cell coverage to make your other apps work.
2. Weather Radio
Weather Radio provides you with up-to-the-minute storm alerts, or basically any critical information where weather can affect your journey. Another essential app, this one is most critical for avoiding severe weather events, yet can help you plan for rain, snow, hail, heat–you get the idea. It even features real-time streaming audio and interactive mapping. If a storm suddenly arrives out of nowhere, this is the app you want to turn on.
Being a dedicated RV driver, you know the importance of dumping your waste in a timely manner. When planning a long journey, it is critical to learn where the best dumps are, and what services they provide. The SaniDumps app can tell you their location, when they are open, how much they charge, and exactly what services they provide. Take the guesswork out of locating dumps by downloading this essential app.
Though only available for iOS devices, InRoute is a critical app for planning and amending your travel. The longer your journey (in distance or days), the more opportunities you have to explore. InRoute allows you to pin specific destinations to your map, and the app will make adjustments to accommodate your interests. It can help you mark your favorite spots, provide navigation, research destinations, and even outsource your route to other apps (e.g. Waze, Google Maps). This app is highly recommended because of its versatility.
5. Ultimate US Public Campgrounds
This app can locate campgrounds all over the country and show them to you on a map. The app differentiates between types of site, showing which locations are free and which ones charge, along with their size, activities, and amenities. This app is practical when planning your journey, however, it’s especially important when you have to make changes to your plans.
6. GPS CoPilot
GPS CoPilot provides useful information on thousands of points of interest, including restaurants, hotels, natural wonders, and other tourist-friendly sites. The beauty of this app is that it doesn’t require a data connection. Of course, this means that all of its data will be stored on your phone, which will take up space. However, because it will continue to work even without a signal, you will not be lost when you need to make a pit stop or call it a night.
Gasbuddy is a another app that uses maps, this time to show you where the least expensive places are for purchasing gasoline. This provides important flexibility for your travel; if your tank holds a thousand gallons, the last thing you want to be doing is guessing whether the sign above the gas station you’re about to pass has the cheapest gas in the area or not. If you can wait another thirty miles to save yourself two hundred dollars, then you really need to know that ahead of time.
8. State Lines
State Lines explains, in layman’s terms, the differences in laws that you can anticipate crossing from one state into another. Speed limits, traffic laws, weight limits, and RV requirements are some of the critical information that you will want to know ahead of time. This app will inform you whether you need to make special arrangements to travel through a given state, or whether certain destinations have expectations for you and your vehicle.
Roadtrippers, as the name implies, is a simple, user-friendly app for locating all manner of points of interest on your journey. Whether these stops are just off the exit, or a few miles away, you will be able to spot them on your interactive map and adjust your trip accordingly. While it is not quite as versatile as InRoute for planning a journey, Roadtrippers is helpful once you are out on the road, even more so when you have no particular place to go.
10. Key Ring
Key Ring is a clever app that allows you to take all of the incentive cards that you use for making purchases at various retailers or restaurants, and scan them into itself so that you can simply use the app instead. These little bar-coded cards can clog up your keychain and wallet after a while, and Key Ring really helps to minimize the clutter and by putting them all in one location. Key Ring also provides a few incentives for its use, thus enabling you to access even more savings.
These ten apps may be the most important for RV users, but there are many more. A few that didn’t quite make the cut are Waze, Redbox, Yelp, Passport America, and TV Towers USA, which enables you to find airwave television signals for your dish. Some of these apps are free, others vary in price. And some have a steep learning curve. But once you master them, these apps can make your life a lot easier when you’re out on the road.