Gadgetry, Travel

Getting Appy

Happy Mid to Late January. Hard to believe the first month of 2017 is almost in the books. Hope you are staying warm if you’re in one of those wintery parts of the world, and if you’re basking in the sun somewhere in Florida Keys, know we’re jealous.

As an avid RV’er, we rely a lot on certain apps while zooming down the highways and when we get to our destination. These are just a few of the apps that we use quite frequently when traveling and thought you might find them useful too. Note, we’re Apple folks so all of these can be found in the iTunes App store. Believe, but not positive, that Android also offers all of them as well.

Getting there:

Gas Guru — we use this one a lot. Prices are always up-to-date and we find it very reliable. Crazy how the price of gas can sometimes be 20 to 40 cents higher in one town than the next – but it’s true. When you’re filling up a 150 gallon fuel tank, 20 – 40 cents per gallon can really add up.

The other gas app we’ve used is Gas Buddy. This is more of a participation based app, as they ask users to add the station and price paid when they fill up to keep it accurate. They even offer gift cards for so many updates, which is a nice touch. Sometimes get a bit of bum information off of this one, but more than not the prices are legit. And plus, you get to help your fellow traveller with the information you provide while using the app – win-win.

Know those times you’re not quite to your destination and have no place in mind to sleep for the night? On top of that, you don’t want to spend a boatload when you’re just rolling in at 10 p.m. and out again at 6 a.m.? Maybe that’s just us, but for that reason we belong to Passport America. They have an easy to use app that also can show you where you are in relation to any one of their 1,900 campgrounds that offer 50% off their rate for the evening. Note – there are quite a lot of rules and blackout times when the half off deals aren’t valid, so make sure you read the fine print and call ahead or you’ll end up trying to catch some Zzzzs in a busy Walmart parking lot due to very bad planning. Ask me how I know. They also offer things like trip planning and rallies. The membership at $44 pays for itself in one or two stopovers. Definitely a good deal.

A website worth mentioning (but to my knowledge do not have a companion app) that lists campgrounds with reviews is Campendium. This gives you a guide to regular campgrounds with full or partial hook ups and state campgrounds with pricing and reviews from fellow campers and glampers. And of course there is the website RV Park Reviews made for RVers by RVers. We use both websites when we’re on a computer, and apps for both would be welcome.

And back to another useful app: Sanidumps – This one needs no explanation. Been out boon docking and need a place to dump your tanks? This is the app to use. Shows you where the dump stations are and the cost, if any, for using it. Very handy, indeed. Even provides directions to the dump stations.

En route or When You’re There:

If you’re cruising through a new town and finding yourself hungry and/or in need of an ATM, this app is sort of a ‘show me everything’ type of service: Around Me. You can find restaurants, then even sort it a little further by cuisine and whether or not the restaurant takes reservations (that usually weeds out the fast food joints). Just looking for a beer or a glass of wine? This can sort it out by bars/pubs as well. Gas stations, grocery stores, ATMs, airports, and – heaven forbid – hospitals, all can be located with a few taps of your finger. 

For National Park Information, we’ve found that the National Park App by Chimani has a lot of valuable information. From News to Trip Planning to Photos – you can get the information you need to plan a fabulous trip, and learn something new about a park you may have visited before to gain a new perspective. Also gives information on seashores, battlefields, preserves, monuments, parkways, etc. Note – I did not upload that picture (on the right) of me looking like a total tourist at Mt. Rushmore last year.

Some Apps go without mentioning, like Trip Advisor or Yelp — we use both when trying to figure out what restaurants to go to, especially if we’re only in an area for 48 – 72 hours, which a lot of the time is our standard stopover allotment. We want to just find the best of the best and weed out the rest, and these two apps help with that endeavor. 

Lastly, one of my favorite apps to use when we’re out enjoying a campfire is Star Walk. If you’re like me and wonder if that bright orb in the sky is a star or a planet, wonder no more. This app shows you where the constellations are and gives you updates on events like meteor showers. Also shows what stars are currently out there and which are getting ready to come up over the horizon — the screen moves around when you do. Fun for the whole family or just you and a glass of wine. Whatever works.

Any apps you use that you can recommend? Hit us up in the comments sections. Always looking for ways to make travel a little easier on ourselves.

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