It’s official! I have quit my job and am full steam ahead into the next chapter of my life! This chapter includes some solo-preneurship, some side-hustles, and dipping our toes into real estate. But MOST importantly, we’re hitting the road in our RV Roo for a some exciting adventures around the U.S. Time to dive into some road trip planning!
I consider myself a pro when it comes to travel planning but road trip planning is a whole other level of things to plan for and consider. RV friendly routes, navigable gas stations, cell service, and ever shifting weather are just a few things you have to think about on top of finding nightly campgrounds or parking locations. Figured I’d share some of the apps and tools that we’ll be using ahead of and during our adventure.
Pre-Road Trip Planning Tools
So where do you even start when planning a multiple month road trip around the country? Finding a tool that can consolidate all your information into one place is beyond helpful.
Roadtrippers Website and App
I cannot recommend Roadtrippers enough! I use this website and app for almost every big trip that I have ever planned for both myself and for clients.
ProTip: It has many free features but I pay the annual fee to access unlimited trip planning features. So worth it.
Roadtrippers provides an interactive tool for planning a route, adding stops, estimating gas and more. You can add dates into certain locations, shift the route via waypoints and search for certain activities or accommodations along the way.
This website is also great for collaborating with travel companions. You can invite people and allow them to either view or edit your trips. That way if people find things that in their research that they’d like to stop at along the way, they can add it right into the route.
Google Maps is also helpful for saving a bunch of locations that you would like to visit on your travels. You can save all points to a list so that you can turn the layer on or off on the map or reference them at a later date. Not many people know but you can download maps of certain areas right to your phone so you can access info offline. This was a helpful feature for us in Iceland!
Road Trip Planning: Nightly Stays
This might sound weird, but one of the best parts of road trips is NOT planning it. You’d be kidding yourself if you think everything in a road trip is going to go perfectly to plan so you need to leave some wiggle room in the plans. You may need to dodge weather, stop for repairs or pause somewhere before a specific campground becomes available. The other thing to consider is that you will meet people along the way that might influence your route or destination! I’d hate to have to miss out on a suggestion because I already had stays booked in advance.
For planning on the go, here are some great resources for affordable or last minute accommodations.
iOverlander and Campendium
Both iOverlander and Campendium are great resources for locating free or cheap boondocking sites such as BLM land, free campsites, parking areas, Walmarts, or Cracker Barrels. iOverlander also shows water fill ups, dump stations, propane fill ups and more. Campendium’s cell service information is a great addition to the crowd sourced sites. There is both a website and a mobile app for both that show small icons representing different amenities that make it easy to navigate and find what you’re looking for.
Both are crowd sourced apps so you can add locations of your own if they are not already listed. Some of the reviews are potentially life saving when you’re driving around in a large rig! You’d hate to get yourself in a situation you can’t back out of.
RV Life app is a wealth of information for campgrounds around the country. I found the reviews to be super thorough and detailed, covering anything from accessibility, road conditions, management, site conditions, shade and MOST importantly, cell service! For those who are working on the road, it is imperative to find a campsite that fits all your needs. RV Life is amazing for that.
Behind a paywall, you can also access features like an RV-friendly GPS and Trip Wizard planning tool.
Harvest Hosts is by far one of my favorite resources for places to stay on the road. For a reasonable annual fee, you can stay a night at breweries, vineyards, museums, farms and more around the country for free.*
ProTip: *Free-ish. You are expected to support the business you are staying with in exchange for free stay. So plan accordingly. Stay at the brewery for a couple cheap beers instead of at the alpaca farm with $40 alpaca socks. Woops.
We have had nothing but wonderful experiences with our hosts so far and I’m excited to stay at more as we go along our trip. Like other boondocking spots, you need to be in a self-contained RV or van, meaning having your own water, toilet, electric source, etc. Majority of hosts don’t offer up water or electric but some may. You can read reviews to find out. Sign up through my link for 15% off your membership!
Road Trip Planning: On-the-go
If you opt to plan as you go, it’ll be helpful to have a multitude of apps at your finger tips. Here are some of the ones that come highly recommended that we’ll be using.
In a world of super expensive gas prices, it’s sometimes hard to be able to compare prices when you’re just traveling through an area. GasBuddy allows you to compare prices on the go, which could add up to $100′ s or even $1000’s saved over the course of the road trip.
ProTip: I found it helpful to look at satelite views for gas stations ahead of time to try to locate ones with plenty of clearance for towing. This is much easier to find once you get out of New England!
I think this one is self-explanatory! It’s surprisingly hard to find dump locations for RVs so this website is a helpful tool to have on hand alongside a few other apps. It looks like there is an app for this but the reviews are subpar so stick to the website for now.
Cell phone coverage is important in this day and age especially with so many people traveling full time or working from the road. I personally will be trying to run a small business as we travel so Coverage? will help to scope out campground cell service ahead of time so we’re not driving into a dead zone with important calls scheduled.
If you are new to roadtripping, this app could be lifesaving. There is a lot to remember when setting up or breaking down a campsite and an RV Checklist is always a useful tool. Even for seasoned pros, sometimes you may feel distracted or tired and want to run through the list real quick before hitting the road. We’re only human!
ProTip: Stick to your roles. My boyfriend and I have very set order to our tasks and don’t mess with each other’s processes unless asked! It’s the best way to make sure nothing gets missed or forgotten.
Google Maps is 99% reliable but it doesn’t take into account low bridges or steep grades so it’s recommended to cross reference your route real quick with a trucker tool or something like CoPilot RV which was designed specifically with RVers in mind. You don’t want to get yourself into a situation where you’re stuck or forced to turn around at an unideal time.
GyPSy Guide is an app for audio guides that sync with your GPS as you travel down a certain route. I first learned about this from a YouTuber who was traveling down Route 1 in the Florida Keys. Such a great way to learn and keep yourself entertained on certain drives. The best part is that you can download the guides to your phone so you don’t have to stress about cell signal in the middle of a National Park! The guides are affordable so I can’t wait to try one out.
There are literally 100s of apps out there to help with road trips and RVing but having a core few to reference will be game changer. Especially with campgrounds and parking lots, it’ll be helpful for us to start with the free campsite apps and work our way down to the paid or Harvest Host options. And if all else fails, we can always find a Walmart!
Are there any road trip apps that you use and love that I missed? Share them in the comments below! Need help planning a road trip of your own? Check out my InMotion Adventures page and see how I can help you plan the trip of your dreams. Until next time…
Love the article, Kristin! Great info and super useful. I have relied heavily on GoogleMaps in the past with all my layers. Will check our roadtrippers per your advice!
Thanks Michael! Yes I think you’ll love Roadtrippers. It’s so helpful for planning road trips!
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