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Old 10-08-2021, 06:06 AM   #1
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Update on Best RV Travel App/Program

I am sure this had been discussed many times but technology is changing every day and I would like to discuss it again.

I recently used one of the popular iPhone apps to navigate from Buda, TX back to our home near Montgomery, TX. We ordered our AS at a dealer in Buda.

I looks to me that these apps tend to take you over Interstate roads with no regard to construction or anything else. This was the case as it took us over I-10 until we hit Loop 99 just West of Katy.

There is a 25 mile stretch of I-10 West of Katy that could best be described as a War Zone. No kidding. Two lanes, two way traffic with concrete barriers on each side. Pot holes and uneven pavement that could best be described as moguls. The lanes can't be much more than 10 feet wide and of course the constricted highway results in bumper to bumper traffic.

Many of the existing exits are closed off. I can't imagine the chaos that results on this road when there is a wreck or a breakdown. Fortunately we did not experience that issue but, an 18 wheeler kicked up what looked like a land mine that skipped off my hood a few times knocking chips out of the paint and busting my windshield. Keep in mind we are just riding in my F-150, not towing.

Local knowledge will route me around that mess next time but:

What is the best app/program for traveling pulling a travel trailer these days?

Thanks,
Wooly
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Old 10-08-2021, 06:35 AM   #2
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I’m interested in this topic as well. The paid version of rv life looks like it may do the job. You’re right about the standard non RV apps like Google maps. They will put you on a dirt road if you’re not careful. We’re going cross country next May plus numerous trips prior, so I want to get this figured out.
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Old 10-08-2021, 07:01 AM   #3
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We use Waze for real-time travel. One downside is that Waze thinks you are a car so assumes the top speed limits etc and ignores truck lanes. I pinged them once and asked for a "towing" button to recalculate estimated arrival times based on trailer speed limits and they said "stop using our app, you are messing up our data by driving slow". So much for customer service. I just add an hour to every four hours of travel and it's close enough for arrival. So a combination of Waze for real time traffic re-routing and road hazard reports combined with All Stays for road weight and height limitations and RV needs including Camp Grounds and a good weather app like Drive Weather (try it, you'll like it) is how we roll. - Brad
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Old 10-08-2021, 07:41 AM   #4
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We use RV Trip Wizard to plan our route and cross-check w/ Waze for construction, etc. Once our course is laid in, we use Waze for updates on problems like accidents, etc. Also just ballpark our arrival time by dividing total miles planned for the day by 45 (our average overall speed w/ stops to empty dogs, etc) and ignore when Waze thinks we'll be there.
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Old 10-08-2021, 07:44 AM   #5
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Driftless Area , Wisconsin
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There isn't, unfortunately, one tool that does everything. The holy grail for me would be an app (not a website) that allowed you to plan RV routes, examine campgrounds and RV facilities, and give you realtime nav/weather guidance. Nothing like this exists, so you have to run through various apps and websites to get everything you need. I've settled on the following tools:
  • RVTripWizard: great RV route planning tool. Not really for real-time use but can be used in the morning if you are figuring out how to get from here today. Some very sophisticated features like elevation graphs and hazard/preference routing. Downsides--it's a web app, not a native app; campground reviews are clunky. It has a native app "companion" which is basically a reader (you still do planning in RVTW), and I find that cumbersome.
  • Allstays: the most comprehensive RV services/campground reference tool I've found. Everything from gas stations to campgrounds to individual services and a lot of filters to cut the noise down. Downsides: no routing / app aesthetics and user experience probably designed by an engineer circa 2005 /
  • HarvestHosts: really has come a long way in the last couple of years. App is very pleasant to use and many hosts have online reservations now. Limited to its service only, but that's fine if you are a "where am I going to stay tonight" kind of traveler.
  • Apple/Google Maps/Waze: only options for real-time nav guidance. I usually plan the route in RVTW then make sure Apple Maps is more-or-less routing the same (or make a post-it-note for the day's deviations)
  • Various websites like The Dyrt, Google, TripAdvisor, CampgroundReviews, etc.: mostly just sanity checks for campgrounds. I basically ignore all reviews more than a year old. The most helpful ones have pictures of each site.

It's both a surprise and a shame that the landscape for these tools is so immature and that there are no standards for aggregating data across services.
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Old 10-08-2021, 08:36 AM   #6
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My favorite two are Allstays and Gas Buddy.
I added Waze because it has streets that are only a few months old, too new for GPS. I tried to find an address in "The Villages" and I'd still be there lost except for Waze.
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Old 10-08-2021, 09:05 AM   #7
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This sounds like a problem waiting to be solved by someone who is entrepreneurial and wants to be the market leader in this area! Maybe big money to be made by some wonderful and smart person!
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Old 10-08-2021, 09:12 AM   #8
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My biggest problem with GPS apps is they provide no perspective of the region/area you're traveling through. For perspective (and trip planning), nothing beats a paper road atlas plus a couple of good books about scenic drives and road trip suggestions in the U.S.
P.S. Thanks for reporting on the condition of that horrible road west of Katy. I can't believe it's still a work in progress.
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Old 10-08-2021, 09:26 AM   #9
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IExit

When traveling on Interstates and the gas tank is getting low, I use iExit to find the best exit for gas. Also it shows which restaurants are near the exit. Especially helpful for finding a favorite lunch takeout place.
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Old 10-08-2021, 09:33 AM   #10
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I like AllStays for campgrounds and necessities, and PocketEarth for navigating.

I rarely, rarely use GPS, manually plotting out my own routes.

Because…

a) I don’t like my devices talking to me, and
b) I think it is better for my brain

We have now a second generation coming up who struggle with basic maps and visual navigation without electronics.

That is not a good thing, imho.

Maggie
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Old 10-08-2021, 09:53 AM   #11
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www.511."state".gov

Great topic..

Many states provide detailed real time "511" road conditions like this one for Nebraska, http://511.nebraska.gov/, where you can even track where the snow plows are working.
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Old 10-08-2021, 10:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lily&Me View Post
I like AllStays for campgrounds and necessities, and PocketEarth for navigating.

I rarely, rarely use GPS, manually plotting out my own routes.

Because…

a) I don’t like my devices talking to me, and
b) I think it is better for my brain

We have now a second generation coming up who struggle with basic maps and visual navigation without electronics.

That is not a good thing, imho.

Maggie
Good point. When I was doing service work we would use Google Maps to get to the calls and I discovered that when we used Google then had to return to the same job at a later date I had no idea where it was, not even a clue what part of town it was in, and had to use Google again to find it. If we went to a call and used a map or written instructions I could find it the next time by memory.
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Old 10-08-2021, 10:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperTrouper View Post
they said "stop using our app, you are messing up our data by driving slow". So much for customer service.

Brad
I was given that answer when I contacted them. So now when we go for our nightly walk with the dogs, I turn on WAZE and put my phone on one dog's harness, and turn on WAZE on my wife's phone and carry that. Both phones are set to show we are driving. Since the trail we walk follows along the Interstate's fence, every time we walk, it shows 2 vehicles moving at 2-3 mph. And when traffic is light (we are in a rural area), the traffic in our direction shows red. And when we walk back, against traffic it really screws with the data.
Tell me you don't care and I'll figure out some way to screw up you data real good.

And I always tell the app there is no cop when they are parked in the trees on the shoulder when I see them while walking. Always willing to help our folks in blue
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Old 10-08-2021, 10:51 AM   #14
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Trying Waze
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Old 10-08-2021, 10:59 AM   #15
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Google Maps

Interesting responses. Google maps can be configured to meet your needs. My default setting is to avoid freeways and interestates for local travel but change it for longer trips. I also have it set to tell me traffic and road conditions. It shows where there is a slowdown or sections under construction - then it provides alternates which I can select or decline. And it has a number of vehicle selections as well. It can be configured to show compass direction and use and display GPS coordinates. Last year I was doing some contract work for the government in remote areas. They provided GPS coordinates to go to. And I was able to plug that in and get directions.

Very flexible application and best of all - it's free.

For long trips or tricky road conditions, I use my laptop to plot out my route and any stops I want to make - RV park, campground, etc. Then send the routing I've put together to my mobile phone and put it on a shoe on my dshboard for on-going directions. And by doing this, if I lose my cellular connection, the routing continues using dead rekoning because I've stored the data.
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Old 10-08-2021, 11:01 AM   #16
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Funny thing about google maps - you can build a database of destinations and routing you've used, save it and bring it up in the future.
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Old 10-08-2021, 11:29 AM   #17
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In addition to the usual suspects.....

We use a few different apps for route planning and campground selection as others have stated. One addition I like is www.Campsitephotos.com. They have a good selection of campgrounds mapped out with photos of most of the sites. We use these for many of our state park destinations and it has helped us sort out which campsite to reserve. Not complete by any means but they seem to have good data on most of the sites we were interested in.
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Old 10-08-2021, 05:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nryn View Post
[*]HarvestHosts: really has come a long way in the last couple of years. App is very pleasant to use and many hosts have online reservations now. Limited to its service only, but that's fine if you are a "where am I going to stay tonight" kind of traveler.[/LIST]
Just an FYI for anyone about to check out Harvest Hosts...
Harvest Hosts recently purchased Boondockers Welcome and last weekend combined the two into one app and website. Judging from the the BDW Facebook group a lot of people are unhappy with the change, but I think it will just take time to get all the functions up and running. Just thought you should know in case you're looking at it for the first time, and if you notice problems, that's why.
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Old 10-09-2021, 01:05 AM   #19
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Slightly off center from your ask, but I have a Garmin RV 890 GPS unit for nav and routing and like it very much. It won’t avoid the war zone you describe, but I don’t know anything that will other than local knowledge or extensive route pre-planning. We do a lot of “dynamic” driving, changing desired paths to see something on the fly. The RV 890 can tailor the driving route based on the size of your RV/trailer, so you can avoid narrow streets, low bridges, etc, and it has a database of truck stops, campgrounds, dump stations, and can be linked via Bluetooth to a cell phone for real time traffic info. It’s not perfect, but I have come to rely on it a great deal to help reduce some of the driving/navigation burden. Also really like the large display screen, it helps with my ability to quickly see my current location while I’m driving, and see upcoming streets or exits, etc.
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Old 10-09-2021, 10:17 AM   #20
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“waze”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woolecox View Post
I am sure this had been discussed many times but technology is changing every day and I would like to discuss it again.

I recently used one of the popular iPhone apps to navigate from Buda, TX back to our home near Montgomery, TX. We ordered our AS at a dealer in Buda.

I looks to me that these apps tend to take you over Interstate roads with no regard to construction or anything else. This was the case as it took us over I-10 until we hit Loop 99 just West of Katy.

There is a 25 mile stretch of I-10 West of Katy that could best be described as a War Zone. No kidding. Two lanes, two way traffic with concrete barriers on each side. Pot holes and uneven pavement that could best be described as moguls. The lanes can't be much more than 10 feet wide and of course the constricted highway results in bumper to bumper traffic.

Many of the existing exits are closed off. I can't imagine the chaos that results on this road when there is a wreck or a breakdown. Fortunately we did not experience that issue but, an 18 wheeler kicked up what looked like a land mine that skipped off my hood a few times knocking chips out of the paint and busting my windshield. Keep in mind we are just riding in my F-150, not towing.

Local knowledge will route me around that mess next time but:

What is the best app/program for traveling pulling a travel trailer these days?

Thanks,
Wooly
Try “WAZE”. Found on the Apple App Store.
It’s free, it will not reroute you around issues like you stated, but it will/can connect you with other users, and you can update conditions of the road to others.
Main reason I use it, is to get a heads up on traffic conditions.

I am using a “Garmin RV770” and WAZE for my travels. WAZE for traffic, Garmin to keep me off 6’ wide roads with 6’ high bridges. Rick
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