It's no secret that we rely on tons of RV resources to help us out while living on the road full-time. Some are apps, some are services, some are certain stores, and some are vegan specific.
We mention these tools regularly on our YouTube channel and in blog posts but thought it was high time we gathered all these RV resources in one place. This will be your one-stop-shop for all of these tools that we use.
A few of these are affiliate links. That means we might get a commission if you buy through them.
RV resources for finding where to camp
Campendium is one of our favorite resources for finding campsites. The main reason is that the reviews also show cell signal for the major carriers. We also personally know some of the reviewers and trust their opinions. You can find all of the listings via the website or iOS app.
Allstays is both a website and an app (iOS only) for finding campgrounds, RV Parks, and services. It even shows things like propane, RV dumps, and grade warnings. Use the filters to see only the type of camping you want to do. For example, national parks, state parks, public lands, and independent parks all have different designations.
The app is $9.99 but using the website is free.
When we traveled into Mexico, our usual sources for finding camping spots weren't all that helpful. It turns out iOverlander is much better when traveling through Mexico. It seems more #vanlife sorts of people use it so you'll find more information on free camping spots even in the U.S. iOverlander has free iPhone and Android apps or you can use it via the website.
Harvest Hosts is a program where private businesses allow you to overnight on their property. Think businesses like wineries, farms, breweries, etc. It can make for some pretty unique experiences! Some of our favorite stays were at a cranberry bog, a brewery, and an organic farm. It's especially useful in the northeast where boondocking opportunities are rare.
Love them or hate them, a Thousand Trails membership can make sense for you if you use them enough during a year. We like to use the parks after we've been boondocking a while to use as a home base while we run errands, do laundry, enjoy the hot tub, etc. We use the annual camping pass. It only takes a few weeks worth of stays for your per night stay for full hook-ups to be well below what you'd normally have to pay. We average less than $15/night.
RV Resources for Navigation & Travel
Traveling full-time, we are almost always in unfamiliar places. We rely heavily on Google Maps (or Waze, see below) to get around. We use it mostly in the car but also in the RV when our RV GPS can't find where we're going. Preview your trips via the website and free apps are available for iPhone and Android.
Waze is another GPS app for finding your way around. Even though it was bought by Google a while back, it's still a separate app from Google Maps. The benefit of using Waze is that users report accidents, broken down vehicles, and police activity. If you like to drive fast, Waze might be your better choice. The free app is available on iPhone and Android.
Garmin RV GPS
Having a GPS that you can put the size and weight of your vehicle into will save you many headaches. There's nothing worse than encountering a low clearance you can't make and having to do a 30 point turn in the middle of the road. We have an older version of the Garmin linked here but really any unit you can plug in your dimensions and weight will probably be good. Just check the reviews.
In addition to the data that came with the Garmin, we added in the data from Low Clearances. It has more data points and includes more than 7000 locations for the US & over 1000 for Canada.
The Flattest Route
If you want to get from point A to point B and avoid the worst hills, you might like to check out The Flattest Route. It's super helpful whether you're cycling or towing a heavy load. Sometimes that mountain pass isn't optional, but it's good to see alternatives if they exist. Oh, and it's free.
When you're filling up a 75 gallon gas tank, it makes sense to try to get the best price you can for fuel. We use Gas Buddy to look ahead and plan our next fuel stop. You can use the website or free app (iOS & Android.) Gas Buddy also has a deal where you can save even more money if you pay with them. We haven't tried that yet.
Road Trip MPG
Road Trip is an iPhone app that you can use to keep track of gas mileage. We use it for the RV. That's how we were able to figure out how much the trip to Alaska cost in fuel. (It was A LOT!) The lite version is free and the full version is $6.99.
Food! How we find good vegan eats.
Happy Cow is our first stop when we're trying to find good-looking vegan restaurant options in a new area. It shows you vegan, vegetarian, and veg-friendly spots as well as stores like co-ops that will have veg products. Happy Cow includes reviews and photos that will help you decide. You can use it via the website or they also have an app (iOS & Android) for $3.99.
When the listings on Happy Cow show little or nothing in an area, we will often use TripAdvisor to try to find vegan options at restaurants. Their review section allows you to search reviews. So we will search by "vegan" to see if anyone else has had a good vegan meal there.
Find Me Gluten-free
We also have friends that are gluten-free. So when we go out to eat with them, we also look up the restaurant on Find Me Gluten-free to make sure there are nice options for them, too. Use via the website or their free iOS and Android apps.
Entertainment & cool things to do on the go
We've been using Netflix since you could only get DVDs and we cut cable long before we left the sticks and bricks. We mostly use it with our Apple TV but occasionally use our phones or computers to watch programming. We've yet to run out of things to watch.
Using Overdrive, you can find ebooks and audiobooks through your library and check them out. Ebooks and audiobooks are perfect for RVing because they don't take up any space! So make sure you have an active digital media account with your local library before you hit the road. We also have a post about other ways we find cheap or free ebooks on the road.
If you like weird and wonderful sights, Atlas Obscura is for you. Check it to find the more off-beat excursions like the world's largest violin, the synchronized fireflies of the Great Smoky Mountains, and abandoned Jazzland in New Orleans.
Factory Tours USA
Do you like seeing how things are made? Factory Tours USA lists factories offering tours state by state. It's worth checking out before you land in an area to see if there's something you want to include in your plans.
One of the best parts of traveling full-time is being able to get out in nature in all kinds of different environments. We love to hike and use All Trails to help us find suitable trails nearby. The free version does most of what you need but they do have a pro version with more bells and whistles. It's available on iOS and Android.
Bands in Town
When you're not stationary, it can be hard to keep up with your favorite bands. Using Bands in Town, you can look ahead to see what acts will be playing areas you are visiting. Connect your profile to Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and more to get personalized alerts. They also have free iOS and Android apps. You just go in and update your profile to your new town to get alerts for that area.
My Aurora Forecast
If you want to see the Northern Lights, this app will alert you to when conditions are favorable for you to see them in your current location. We used this while traveling to, around, and from Alaska. Sometimes you can catch them from the northern part of the lower 48 as well. It has a free version and is available on iOS and Android.
RV resources for shopping & saving money
Whether you do or don't have insurance, GoodRX can help you save money by showing you the best prices for your prescription in your area. As an RVer, you can change the search area to wherever you happen to be. Using it cut my prescription prices from about $500 down to $70 for a three month supply. It's free and you can use it via the website or the app (iPhone & Android.)
As an RV traveler, getting packages can be challenging. It can't just show up when it shows up because you might have moved on! But the free 2-day shipping included in an Amazon Prime membership makes it much easier! Especially if there are Amazon lockers in the area. We support local businesses when we can, but there are certain things we need to have shipped in like RV parts and unusual cooking ingredients. Get a 30-day free trial with our affiliate link.
When we first hit the road, we didn't see the sense in a Costco membership. I mean, what are you going to do with bulk items in an RV? But then while in Vegas, we realized that propane was $1+ less per gallon at Costco. And the fuel was much cheaper too.
So we broke down and got a membership. Costco also came in hand when we stocked up on supplies on the way to Alaska and Mexico. Plus, the prices at the Costco in Alaska weren't much different than in the lower 48.
To be honest, it expired while we were in Mexico and we haven't yet renewed it mainly because we've been close enough to civilization that we don't need to stock up and far enough that we haven't been near very many Costcos. But we are likely to rejoin when it makes sense. If you can share a membership with someone else, even better.
Keeping track of retail loyalty cards is a pain in the butt! Especially if you travel full-time. I've been using Card Star for years, and it still works, but hasn't been updated in a long time. If you like the idea of keeping all of your loyalty cards in an app on your phone, there are many alternatives out there.
Whether you have insurance or not, you're probably overpaying for lab tests. Not only can you save money using Grassroots Labs, but they have testing labs all over. Perfect for RV life! For example, we had some testing done in Fairbanks, Alaska. My doctor was also able to order the tests she wanted and then I could have them performed wherever it was convenient for me. It really is a great service.
Miscellaneous RV resources
The Open Signal app has coverage maps for the major mobile service providers in the U.S. and many other countries. We use it to check ahead to see what the signal might be like where we're about to camp. You can also use it to see what the coverage is like along the route you're driving.
We use Todoist to manage tasks we need to take care of in the RV, in our personal lives, and for work. It's like a todo list on steroids. The free version is all many people need. Todoist has apps for Android, iPhone, MacOS, and Windows. If you're curious how we use it to keep track of RV maintenance, we wrote a whole post about that.
If you travel into Mexico or the French speaking parts of Canada, you'll have a much easier time of it if you at least understand some basics of the language. Duolingo makes learning easy! Spend a few minutes a day on it and you'll have some basics in no time. Duolingo has free Android and iPhone apps or you can use the website. There's a paid version if you'd like more advanced features.
When we hit the road, we signed up for Coach Net for roadside assistance. And boy were we glad we had it! When our RV broke down on New Year's Eve and had to be flat towed, it was fully covered by Coach Net. That tow would have cost us $1000+.
Progressive allows for some additional coverage if your RV is also your full-time residence. This is who we use for our insurance. Your needs might be different but if you are living in your RV full-time, you should definitely check to see what your insurance company's policies are regarding that.
When you live in an RV and travel full-time, you still need a regular place to get mail. If you don't use the address of friends or family members, a mail forwarding company can handle that for you. Americas Mailbox not only handles our mail but also takes care of our vehicle registrations. If you're considering a South Dakota domicile, check out Americas Mailbox. Tell them box #7380 sent you.
Get brighter lighting and use less power by replacing all of your lightbulbs with LEDs. We got all of ours from M4 LED. Protip: if you're not sure which color light you will like best, order one of each that you're considering and test them out before putting in your big order. What looks best in your RV might be different that what you think.
We're not retired or independently wealthy. We work from the road. So we need a good internet connection. Often we will scope out a spot before we commit to staying there. You can connect to wifi and test its speed or use the app on your phone and test the data speed over 4G. No one wants to get all settled in a campsite and then find out that you can barely get a text message. You can run a Speed Test from their website or the iOS or Android app. It's free.
The last thing you want to do in your RV is store a bunch of paper receipts. Scanbot is an app that lets you scan documents to a pdf and then store them in the location of your choice. For example, mine go to Dropbox (see below.) It's great for taxes and business needs. Oh, and you can fax from it! The free version does everything I need but there are paid versions with more features. Available for iOS and Android.
If you want to be paperless, you'll need a safe place to store your files. I've been using Dropbox for years. I use it for personal documents, photo back-up, and for sharing with clients. It connects with many different services and you can upload any kind of file to it.
We hope you found these RV resources helpful! Did we miss anything? Do you have any to add? Please share in a comment below. Let's pass the knowledge forward.