Ep. 141: 10 Favorite RV Camping Apps | tips tricks how-to
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Ep. 141: 10 Favorite RV Camping Apps | tips tricks how-to

March 12, 2020

Hey friends, welcome back to Grand
Adventure! I’m your host Marc Guido, and today
we’re going to look at 10 of our favorite smartphone apps for RV camping
and travel, so stick around! Now cellphones, have certainly come a
very long way in a very short period of time. My first cell phone was this giant
Motorola bag phone that I’m sure looks very familiar to a whole bunch of you.
But today’s modern smartphone is actually a very powerful, tiny handheld
computer that’s a lot more powerful than the PCs I owned just a few very short
years ago, so it makes total sense for the RV traveler to leverage the
capability of a smartphone by using apps to help make the camping experience
easier and more enjoyable. Now, the most expensive part of RV camping (unless
you’re camping right next to home) is your fuel expense, and for that reason we
make ample use of Gas Buddy. Gas Buddy is a free app for both iOS and Android that
uses user-submitted gas prices to help find the cheapest gas in any area. Here
you can see that the price for regular gas nearby has a 65-cent spread between
the lowest and highest prices. We prefer to sort by price. You can also sort by a different grade
of gas, or even diesel. Clicking on the map button will display station
locations, and clicking on an individual station even includes driving directions. If you’re traveling, you can check prices
in any area along your route with the search feature. Just type in your
destination in the app will display fuel prices along your entire route. That way,
you can decide where it’s best to fill up. Now speaking of maps, we use the free
Google Maps for not only driving directions, but also to find interesting
things to see and do along the way. We use the free Google Maps for driving
directions, finding points of interest, locating businesses and determining
their hours, and much more. We’ve even used it to find a mobile RV tech when
we broke down on the side of the road. Google Maps is terrific for finding
things nearby to see and do as you travel. Need a laundromat? Find one nearby, check
out photos, determine when they’re open, and get directions right to the front
door. If you’re traveling beyond cell service,
you can even download maps with points of interest, capable of producing
turn-by-turn driving directions without access to the internet. Google Maps is
available for both iOS and Android phones and tablets. And speaking of
offline maps, our favorite mapping software, our favorite mapping app for
outdoor recreation maps is Backcountry Navigator. Now unfortunately for you iOS
users, this one is Android only. It is a little bit pricey as far as apps go at
$14.99; however, that’s a lifetime fee and the developer needs to pay licensing
fees for the different map layers that are available in the base program, so
it’s only fair that the developer gets to pass those licensing fees along to
his users. You have access to multiple map sources, including street maps,
satellite imagery, and our favorite: the shaded CalTopo 24K series. If you’ll be out in the boonies you can
even download specific areas to your phone for offline use.
We like downloading both topo maps and satellite imagery for any area we’ll be
boondocking in, to help locate campsites. But who knows if you’re going to have cell
signal when you get there? That’s where the app OpenSignal comes in. OpenSignal
is a free app for both iOS and Android that lets you see user reported cell
signal reports and speed tests right on a map. You may limit the app to display just
your cell carrier and preferred network protocol. Here we’re going to select
Verizon 4G only. The app includes a compass function to show the direction
of the cell tower, useful if you have a cellphone booster with a directional
antenna. You can even see on a map where the tower that you’re connected to is
located, helpful if moving your camp a little bit will improve service. A similar free app for you satellite TV
viewers is Satellite Director. Now, this one is also Android only, but we’re sure
that you iOS users can find similar apps for your iPhone. This is handy for
figuring out where to point your satellite dish. First wait for a GPS fix, then select the satellite you’re looking
for. Because we’re on DISH Network we’ll select one of the Ecostar western arc
satellites. Then simply rotate your phone until you
lock onto the cyan dot — that’s the direction of the satellite. If you’re
looking for a place to stop for the night, Roadbreakers is the app for you.
This free app for both iOS and Android was developed for truckers, but it’s
perfect for RV travelers as well. It shows places where you can asphalt
dock for the night, including Wal-marts, truck stops, rest areas, on-street parking,
and more. Different categories of overnight locations have different
colors. All include a satellite view, and many include user reviews. Google Maps isn’t the only app we use to
find interesting things to see and do. We also get ample use out of
Roadtrippers. Although there’s a premium version, we use the free Roadtrippers app
for iOS or Android to find cool things to stop and see along the way. You can
check nearby, or plan ahead. Clicking on a point of interest will reveal user
reviews and much more. Another free app for both iOS and
Android with similar functionality is Trip Bucket. We use Trip Bucket to help
find interesting things to see and do, and places to visit nearby. Again, clicking on a specific point of
interest will reveal detailed information including visitor reviews. But what about the weather?
We’re weather geeks, so we’re not fans of dumbed-down weather apps like The Weather
Channel and AccuWeather. We’d actually rather see what’s going to
happen, and for that there’s no app better than FlowX. Right now, FlowX is
only available for Android, but you can register for the beta version on iOS. The
beauty of FlowX is that it lets you see right on a map what different weather
models like the GFS and Canadian models are predicting. All you need to do is
select which parameter you’re going to map, and then swipe left to right or
right to left to move through the timeline. Thinking about moving, but wondering
where it’s expected to be windy? Wonder no more.
Select wind as your parameter and then see wind speeds. Worried about rain? Select precipitation
as your parameter, then go see. And last, but most certainly not least is our
favorite directory for finding great places to camp, and that’s Campendium.
Now at the moment, the app is only available for iOS users, so we actually
pinned the mobile version of Campendium’s mobile website right to our phone’s
home screen. We use Campendium to locate anything
from free boondocking sites to luxury RV resorts, and everything in between. As digital nomads we particularly
appreciate the fact that Campendium users rate their cell phone signal with
each and every review. You can see photos, check the last price paid and
read detailed user-submitted reviews. Clicking on the GPS coordinates will
open the location in Google Maps, so you can zoom in and switch to satellite view
to get an up-close-and-personal view of the lay of the land. So if you’d
like to install any of these apps on your own phone, we’ll put links to help
you do so right in the YouTube video description down below.
Now, also down below is the comment section and we would certainly love your
feedback on this episode of Grand Adventure.
Now, we put out new outdoor adventure travel videos each and every Wednesday,
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week please remember, life is nothing but a
Grand Adventure. We’ll see you then!

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