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This article is a nine-page comprehensive RV essentials guide.
If you have arrived in the middle of the guide but want to start at the beginning, click here.
Helpful Tools for Planning an RV Road Trip
If you’re like me, half the fun of taking a road trip in an RV is planning the excursion!
(However, if that does not sound fun, that’s okay too! Click here to check out some of my travel guides.)
When planning an RV road trip, these devices and apps will help you effortlessly plan your next great RV trip.
You may wonder why you need a GPS unit when programs such as Google Maps and Apple Maps offer map routing for free.
It’s tempting initially to use one of those free map programs.
However, most RVs are much larger than a car, and neither of those apps can account for your rig’s RV-specific features, such as height, weight, and the fact that you have propane tanks on board.
Having an RV-specific GPS unit such as this Garmin below is one way to ensure you have a GPS aware of the size and weight of your rig, which you will quickly find is vital for your peace of mind in RV life.
Travel days are nerve-racking enough! An RV-specific GPS takes a load off your mind!
- IN THE BOX: 1x Garmin RV 795 GPS Navigator, 1x vehicle suction cup mount, 1x traffic receiver/vehicle power cable, 1x CLA adapter, 1 x Wearable4U E-Bank with Car and Wall Chargers
If cost is a concern, though, I’d pass on a Garmin unit and go ahead and use your phone, but instead with one of these next-mentioned RV-safe GPS routing apps.
Apps Including GPS
These days, there are multiple RV-safe GPS routing apps available.
If you are okay with having your phone preoccupied while on the road, unlike the Garmin unit above, where you must drop a lot of money at once, you can save by subscribing to one of these apps as needed.
Some also often come with additional features and resources that make the payment plan worth it.
When choosing one of these memberships, look at the entire package the company offers alongside the GPS and pick the one with the bonus features that work best for you.
RV Life Pro
For only $65 a year, RV LIFE PRO packs quite the punch!
There are a few ways you get a lot of RV trip planning power with this program.
First of all, for those who have a phone holder in their car who are used to reading directions off their phone, you’ll likely find the RV Safe GPS included with an RV LIFE PRO membership does everything a separate GPS unit does, saving you the cost of buying one of those devices.
However, the main feature this app offers that I love is the RV Life Trip Wizard.
If you enjoy mapping out your RV road trip routes, you will quickly discover that planning routes in Apple or Google Maps can be frustrating.
You’re not in a car anymore. Your height and weight now affect what roads you can travel on.
The RV Life Trip Wizard runs off a web-browser-based program, offering the opportunity to plan your route using mapping software that can be customized to your rig’s specific height and weight.
It also better estimates actual travel times for your rig and calculates what your trip will cost.
You can add points of interest, campgrounds (with reviews), and gas stations to your route.
Simply said, RV LIFE PRO is built specifically for RVers.
Roadpass Pro offers similar amenities to RV LIFE PRO.
It is also cheaper, costing $49.99 annually.
If you already use Campendium and Roadtrippers to plan trips often, look into the combo pack Roadpass Pro offers, including features from both of those websites.
CoPilot RV GPS
CoPilot focuses primarily on RV navigation.
Since it lacks extra features, it is the most economical option, costing $29.99 for 12 months of access.
When thinking about RV must-haves, there are some apps out there that should be included because they can make your travel days so much easier.
We used both of these on EVERY travel day.
The best part about these apps is they’re free!
Talk about a money-saver!
GasBuddy is an amazing resource for seeing where the best gas deals will be along your route for the day so you can plan accordingly.
iExit is fantastic for finding rest areas and restaurants along your route.
We use this app every travel day to plan where to eat and take bathroom breaks.
Many will think having a paper map is silly, but let me quickly make a case for them.
If you live in a populated area and are about to go on an adventure in a much less populated area, it’s important to remember that there are still plenty of outdoorsy destinations in the US with a lack of cell signal.
Think about where you are headed on your trip and what maps would be best to store in the glove box, just in case.
For safety reasons, at the very least, I recommend obtaining a paper map of the states you’ll be traveling through. (They are often free at visitor centers.)
PAGE ONE: Top Ten RV Must-Haves
PAGE TWO: RV Water & Sewer Supplies
PAGE THREE: Road Trip Planning Tools
PAGE FOUR: Fundamentals for RV Emergencies, Safety, & Maintenance
PAGE FIVE: RV Kitchen Essentials
PAGE SIX: RV Bedroom, Closet, Laundry, Bathroom, & Living Room Essentials
PAGE SEVEN: RV Internet & Boondocking Essentials
PAGE EIGHT: Fun Outdoor Camping Items, Traveling with Bikes, & Traveling with Pets
PAGE NINE: Stationary RV Living, Winter RV Living, RV Storage, & FAQs